How Portland’s Bayside Plans to Cope With Increased Flooding Caused by Climate Change

Climate change poses a threat to property and infrastructure up and down the East Coast, and in Portland, residents and planners are starting to devise a response.

The latest installment of our occasional series “Beyond 350: Confronting Climate Change” focuses on the growing movement toward “coastal resilience.”

Portland’s Bayside neighborhood is one of the city’s most vulnerable to climate change. Rising sea-levels and more frequent, intense rainfalls are taxing its aging stormwater overflow systems.

“The biggest problem is that Bayside is our lowest elevation neighborhood,” says Bill Needelman, the city’s Waterfront Coordinator.

Needelman says this area, on a flat plain near the city’s Back Cove inlet, is 4-5 feet lower than bustling Commercial St. on the harbor.

Fred Bever

Maine Public

Resident’s View: Chomba Kaluba Shares How Home is a Foundation

      Chomba Kaluba, a resident at Avesta Housing’s mixed-income development 409 Cumberland in Portland, Maine, sat down with Affordable Housing Finance to discuss what home and community mean to him. Kaluba also is an Avesta Housing board member. Please click the link below to be redirected to video of the interview.

Technology + housing = more accessible health care

My mother’s brush with death started out innocuously. She had a persistent “wheezing,” and while—as the days passed by and it turned into a cough—she knew it probably should have gone away by that time, it took too much energy to catch the required two buses to visit her physician. It could wait a little longer, she reasoned.

Yes, at 85, that was not the smartest conclusion, but she has always been the type to not complain. I live a two-hour flight away and my sister requires a two-hour drive to visit. She didn’t want to use up our calls and visits with what she viewed as “whining,” so we had no idea she was feeling so poorly.  When my sister began to catch on, my mom promised to visit her doctor. But she didn’t.  Already living alone in a retirement community, she stopped going downstairs for meals regularly or even visiting her friends. Meanwhile, the weariness caused by the cough caused her to stop doing the exercises she needed to rehabilitate her recently repaired shoulder.

Both of those disasters in the making could likely have been nipped in the bud if she had been able to “virtually” consult with a physician or nurse early on. Instead, she developed pneumonia and came very close to dying. She has never fully recovered; in fact, in a few weeks, she will have to move in with my sister, away from the retirement community she loves.Such a scenario is exactly the type that Kim Farrar, vice president of residential services at Avesta Housing in Portland, Maine, hopes to prevent with the organization’s experiment with telemedicine.

Pam Bailey

NeighborWorks Blog

Affordable Senior Housing Development Breaks Ground in Hampton Falls

HAMPTON FALLS, NH — Construction has begun for the Meadows at Grapevine Run, an affordable senior housing development in Hampton Falls by Avesta Housing, and will be available to rent next summer 2017. With financing help from Meredith Village Savings Bank (MVSB), the Meadows at Grapevine Run will offer 24 units of affordable, one-bedroom senior housing on a 57-acre site in the center of town, according to a press statement. It will also include a community room and laundry room.

The project is sponsored by Avesta Housing, a nonprofit developer that specializes in affordable housing.

“We’re proud to support local organizations, like Avesta Housing, that help our communities thrive,” said Rick Wyman, the president of Meredith Village Savings Bank. “With a loan processing office in Hampton Falls and construction for our new branch in Portsmouth slated to start soon, the Seacoast has become a major community focus for us. We are happy to do all we can to further the economic advancement of this area.”

Tony Schinella

The Patch

NeighborWorks America selects new green-designated organizations

WASHINGTON, DC – Fifteen nonprofit community development organizations were recognized today for their excellence in sustainable business and housing practices that are designed to save people money by NeighborWorks America. To date, 95 network members have earned the NeighborWorks Green Organization designation.

This is the fifth year of the NeighborWorks Green Organization program, which recognizes community development nonprofits in its network of more than 240 organizations that demonstrate a comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations — both in their lines of business and the corporate operations they run.

“Operating under green practices provides a triple win — residents, businesses and organizations all win,” said Paul Weech, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America. “The organizations that earn this designation from NeighborWorks America show that green business practices not only support a nonprofit’s bottom line and further its mission, but also protect people’s pocketbooks and their well-being.”


Yahoo Finance

Green home design takes off in Maine

SEARSMONT — What’s coming off the assembly line at Ecocor looks a bit like a really fat, firm box spring, 18 inches thick, swathed in high performance fabrics, framed with wood, so solid that even the princess couldn’t feel a pea through it.

But these are building panels, walls for prefabricated homes, very different from the kind of prefabricated homes we’re accustomed to, the single-wide rolling slowly down the highway. These walls are for homes certified to Passive House Institute standards – that’s the German energy efficiency movement founded in the late 1980s – which means they’ll be 90 percent more efficient than traditional construction. With solar panels on the roof, Ecocor’s houses can even be net positive, i.e., producing more energy than they consume.

Ecocor founder, owner and technical director Chris Corson built his first Passive House in 2010 in Knox and has finished about 35 since then, all over the Northeast. After years of flying under the radar, he is ready to talk about making houses like his commonplace, and in so doing, helping fight climate change. Because it’s not just freeways clogged with cars that are heating the planet.

Much-Needed Seniors Housing Completed in Maine

Much-needed affordable housing for seniors has opened in the rural community of Gorham, Maine, in the southern part of the state.

Ridgewood at Village Square, developed by Portland, Maine–based Avesta Housing, provides 24 one- and two-bedroom apartments targeted to senior households at or below 60% of the area median income. This project enhances the developer’s senior housing campus in Gorham, which already includes a 37-bed assisted-living facility, a 48-unit senior housing development, and a 20-unit senior housing development.

“Maine has the oldest population in the country. We estimate that there are currently about 10,000 seniors on various affordable housing wait lists in the state,” says Dana Totman, president and CEO of Avesta Housing. “This is a very small piece to start to address that need, but we’re very actively advocating for more resources for more housing for our seniors.”

Christine Serlin

Affordable Housing Finance Magazine

The only unacceptable resolution to Maine’s senior housing stalemate is inaction

A year ago, Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a $15 million bond to help pay for construction of low-income housing for Maine seniors. One year later, a growing number of Maine seniors are on waiting lists for affordable housing as Gov. Paul LePage refuses to authorize the bond’s sale.

With LePage refusing to budge, backers of the funding are wisely looking at other options — including legislation to bypass the need for action from the governor or another bond whose proceeds would be ready to be spent after LePage leaves office in 2019. Either way, resolving the current stalemate so needed affordable senior housing can be built should be a priority of the Legislature when it begins its work next year.

LePage has given numerous reasons, all of which are flawed and can be easily debunked, for refusing to issue the senior housing bond.

Bangor Daily News

Rehab complete at affordable housing on Park Street in Portland

PORTLAND — Mike Lyne stood in the basement of Rosa True School on Monday, admiring the new boilers.

“This is the stuff I love,” he said, as he described the boost in efficiency to 90 percent in the 10-unit affordable housing development at 140 Park St.

On Tuesday, Lyne, the chief operating officer for Developers Collaborative, was able to celebrate more as the company publicly unveiled the renovated and expanded historic property it leases from the city.

“This could be the oldest rehab I have done,”Developers Collaborative principal Kevin Bunker said Monday.

David Harry

The Forecaster

New downtown district hopes to improve Portland’s energy efficiency

PORTLAND — Vin Veroneau said he is not quite sure what to expect of the new Portland 2030 District, but is eager to see how it can affect his bottom line and the world around him.

“Hopefully, it gives us a competitive advantage and is good for the environment,” Veroneau said Oct. 18 about the new initiative announced Oct. 13 by the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

Veroneau is president and CEO of J.B. Brown & Sons, which develops and manages commercial and residential properties throughout the Portland area.

The Portland 2030 District is part of a broader continental initiative involving 13 U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Dallas, as well as Toronto, Canada.

“This project gives property owners, managers and developers tools to save resources and money,” GPCOG Exective Director Kristina Egan said in a press release.

David Harry

The Forecaster