Portland city councilors voted Wednesday to approve zoning incentives for low- and middle-income housing developments in certain areas of the city.
The incentives will especially help developers of nonprofit housing compete for funding from the Maine State Housing Authority by reducing per unit construction costs – a major issue in Maine’s largest city.
“I think this is the most significant response to Portland’s affordable housing crisis that has been brought forward,” said Dana Totman, CEO of Avesta Housing, the state’s largest nonprofit affordable housing developer.
SOUTH PORTLAND — A plan to revitalize the West End that highlights improved streets and sidewalks, new recreational opportunities and keeping the area affordable was presented Monday at a City Council workshop.
The plan encompassing the Redbank and Brick Hill neighborhoods and parts of Westbrook Street and Western Avenue includes an earlier public-private proposal to build affordable housing.
However, zoning changes are necessary to adopt some of the recommendations. Councilors would have to formally adopt the plan and authorize the zoning changes.During the workshop, councilors also discussed “paper” streets and marijuana licensing.
The West End Neighborhood Master Plan highlights five objectives, including neighborhood connectivity, regional access for residents, sustainability, increasing recreation and open space, and developing a neighborhood center.
Avesta Housing’s $10 million Deering Place would be available to residents with incomes of $20,000 to $40,000, a response to affordability concerns in Portland’s red hot real estate market.
Maine’s largest affordable-housing developer wants to build 82 apartments – mostly for low-income residents – in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood, adding badly needed units at below-market rates in a city where gentrification threatens to displace many low- and middle-income residents on the peninsula.
PORTLAND, Maine, July 19, 2017 — Avesta Housing in Portland has received a $10,000 charitable grant from KeyBank Foundation for its NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center. Avesta’s mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities by promoting and providing quality affordable homes for people in need. KeyBank’s funding will help Avesta to provide free financial counseling and education to low-income applicants and residents in an effort to help them achieve and retain housing, and improve their overall financial health.
Avesta NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center director Nicole DiGeronimo explained the impact of this grant, “KeyBank Foundation’s generous grant enables us to help low-income applicants for our affordable housing better understand and manage their personal finances. The free financial counseling and education we provide is an important step toward financial stability and success.”
KeyBank is committed to helping clients and communities thrive, with a focus on assisting people at all income levels gain access to safe, affordable and stable housing.
“Often, financial counseling is a key ingredient to helping low income individuals and families achieve and sustain affordable housing,” said KeyBank mortgage sales manager Nicholas Brouillette. “We are pleased to partner with Avesta to help provide counseling and supportive services that lead to successful residency and financial wellness.”
About Avesta Housing:
Avesta Housing is a nonprofit affordable housing provider with over 40 years of experience as a leader in affordable housing development and property management in southern Maine and New Hampshire. The organization is headquartered in Portland, Maine and currently has more than 80 properties and 2,200 apartments in its portfolio. Avesta’s mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities by promoting and providing quality affordable homes for people in need. Its five areas of focus are advocacy, development, property management, homeownership, and assisted living. www.AvestaHousing.org
About KeyBank Foundation:
KeyBank Foundation serves to fulfill KeyBank’s purpose to help clients and communities thrive, and its mission is to support organizations and programs that prepare people for thriving futures. The Foundation’s mission is advanced through three funding priorities – neighbors, education, and workforce – and through community service. To provide meaningful philanthropy that transforms lives, KeyBank Foundation listens carefully to understand the unique characteristics and needs of its communities and then backs solutions with targeted philanthropic investments. KeyBank Foundation is a nonprofit charitable foundation, funded by KeyCorp.
Sara Olson, Director of Development & Communications – Avesta Housing
A new type of energy-efficient construction is drawing attention in the U.S. It’s called “passive housing” — residences built to achieve ultra-low energy use. It’s so efficient that developers can eliminate central heating systems altogether.
Imported from Germany, it’s been a boutique building style until recently, with eco-minded home owners making costly upfront investments to downsize their carbon footprints. But now, New England is joining a surge in large-scale passive housing development.
Bayside Anchor is a big, green, somewhat boxy-looking four-story building that overlooks a tidal cove in Portland, Maine.
Bayside Anchor Apartments is aptly named, bringing new stability to its Portland, Maine, neighborhood.
The 45-unit development delivers needed housing opportunities to the poorest census tract in the state and serves as the social hub for the area with large community spaces, a Head Start preschool program, and community policing offices on the ground floor.
“It’s a community resource center as well as mixed-income housing,” says Jay Waterman, development director at the Portland Housing Authority (PHA), which partnered with Avesta Housing to create the property.
Affordable Housing Finance has selected 36 developments as finalists in its 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards competition.
Competing in 10 categories, they represent some of the best affordable housing developments completed in 2016 and 2017. The finalists were selected based on their impact on their community, creative problem-solving, sustainable and inventive design, and innovative financing,
The finalists were chosen from 120 entries and are located in 15 states.
PORTLAND — Bayside Anchor was touted as a model of mixed-income, mixed-use housing at a grand opening June 7.
The 45-unit, four-story building at the corner of Boyd and East Oxford streets has 36 units of low-income housing and the new home of the Portland Community Policing Station.
“It is very much a blessing, I can’t understate what a gift it is” resident Timothy Leo said June 5.
SOUTH PORTLAND — More affordable housing is being planned in the city’s west end with the help of a city-backed loan.
A variety store owner is hoping to build a mixed-use building that would include some affordable housing on Westbrook Street, between the Redbank and Brickhill neighborhoods, by borrowing municipal funds.
The City Council on Monday unanimously authorized lending Quang Nguyen $86,000 from the city’s Revolving Loan Fund Program to purchase a vacant 0.25-acre lot at 600 Westbrook St.
Also Monday, councilors had the first reading of a housing ordinance that would require some developers to make allowances for affordable housing.
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