Portland, MAINE — Avesta Housing has released its first monthly Affordable Housing Activity Report, which provides key information about the local demand for affordable homes.
The report highlights demographic information on the households that sought housing through Avesta in the month of January, as well as those households that the agency was able to move into apartments in that same month. The report also tracks the age of the head-of-household, the household median income and the household size, as well as whether residents have the benefit of rental assistance.
The report underscores the severity of one of Maine’s most critical problems: the demand for affordable homes far outweighs the supply. While 275 households sought housing from Avesta in January, there were only enough apartments available through Avesta to help 29 households. The approximately 1,900 apartments in the agency’s portfolio are currently at nearly 100% occupancy and carry an aggregate waiting list of over 1,800 families.
This experience mirrors Census data tabulated by the National Low Income Housing Coalition indicating that for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Maine, only 40 apartments are available and affordable for them to rent.
The report also highlights the importance of rental assistance in providing low-income families the opportunity to successfully find housing they can afford. In the month of January, Avesta was able to house only nine households that did not have the benefit of rental assistance programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Recent federal cuts to the already severely under-funded Housing Choice Voucher Program have caused approximately 500 fewer families in Maine to receive assistance.
Avesta is tracking this data in a comprehensive way for the first time in its history to better understand the region’s housing needs and the best ways to address them.
“This data will provide additional information to the housing industry and the community about local housing needs, and illustrate the real challenges we face in ensuring that all Maine people have access to a safe, decent, affordable home,” said Dana Totman, President and CEO of Avesta Housing. “By better understanding who is reaching out to us for housing, we can make more informed decisions about the kinds of housing and services we offer. And by publishing this data on a monthly basis, we hope to engage other stakeholders and community members in important conversations about the resources needed to meet Maine’s housing challenges.”
The report will be released monthly on Avesta’s website. Click here to read January's report.