Avesta Housing is today celebrating 28 new, energy-efficient, affordable apartments for seniors in downtown South Berwick and highlighting a new partnership with York Hospital to provide health care services to prospective residents.
Young Street Apartments represents the result of a collaborative process between the Town of South Berwick and Avesta Housing to turn an under-utilized piece of downtown land into a community asset.
Dana Totman, President of Avesta Housing, lauded the new project while calling for renewed focus on the vast unmet need for affordable senior housing in Maine. “Seniors in Maine are in need of decent, safe and affordable housing,” said Totman. “Young Street's completion comes at a critical time for the approximately 30 residents who will live there, but for the thousands of seniors who still need affordable housing, we need to do more.”
Maine Speaker of the House Mark Eves, who represents the district in which Young Street Apartments is located, spoke about the importance of creating affordable housing options that allow seniors to age in place successfully. He also highlighted Question 2 on Tuesday’s statewide ballot, which would help finance the construction of new homes and essential repairs for hundreds of Maine seniors through a $15 million general obligation bond issue. Speaker Eves was the chief sponsor of bipartisan legislation that put the senior affordable housing bond on the ballot, with the support of a wide range of housing, aging, construction and community development organizations throughout Maine.
“Young Street Apartments are the perfect model for senior housing across the state. They address a strong need in the community to help seniors remain independent in their communities, with health care centers and shopping areas nearby," said Speaker Eves. “If voters approve the housing bond tomorrow, it will be a huge win for seniors and our local communities.”
Residents of Young Street Apartments will benefit from a partnership with York Hospital, meant to foster a more proactive approach to wellness and improve health outcomes. “There is a very natural synergy between affordable senior housing and health care,” said Jud Knox, President of York Hospital. “York Hospital is pleased to be working with Avesta Housing to provide onsite services to the residents of Young Street Apartments. We are committed to the people of South Berwick and to providing medical services that are valuable, convenient and affordable.”
Tuesday’s bond vote comes at a time when requests for Avesta’s apartments have jumped by over 25% in the past year and by more than 45% among senior households. A study released earlier this year by a national research firm found that Maine has a shortage of nearly 9,000 units of affordable housing available to low income older people, a shortage projected to grow to more than 15,000 by 2022 barring any change to the state’s housing stock.