Partners Bank awards $10,000 grant to Avesta Housing

Blaine Boudreau, Partners Bank president and CEO (second from right), delivers a presentation check to Avesta Housing staff at Woodsedge in Alfred (left to right): Claire Collin, property manager; Christine Martin, resident service coordinator; Dana Totman, president and CEO; Michael Rayder, associate director of development; and Ben O’Brien, maintenance technician.

ALFRED, Maine — Partners Bank has joined the ranks of supporters of Avesta Housing’s Silver Hearth Fund by donating $10,000 to aid in the development, renovation, and maintenance of housing and services for low-income seniors in Maine and New Hampshire.

Blaine A. Boudreau, president and CEO of Partners Bank, recently delivered a presentation check to Avesta Housing President and CEO Dana Totman and other Avesta Housing staff during a tour of Woodsedge, an apartment complex for low-income seniors and people with disabilities in Alfred, Maine.

“We applaud and appreciate Avesta Housing’s efforts over the last few years. The planting of those seeds to providing senior housing programs has paid off,” Boudreau said. “We look forward to making a difference in solving a serious need.”

Maine has the largest percentage of residents age 65 and older in the U.S., and nearly 10 percent of them live below the federal poverty threshold. Avesta provides housing to 4,600 people each year, nearly half of whom are seniors — however, the number of older adults seeking an affordable home far exceeds the organization’s capacity to help. Only 1 in 9 applicants per year find a home with Avesta; the others end up on long wait lists.

To address this need, Avesta launched The Silver Hearth Fund in 2019. Avesta’s goal is to raise $2 million by the end of 2021 to build new housing, rehabilitate existing housing, and expand services for seniors in its coverage area.

Woodsedge is just one example of how Avesta is helping low-income seniors. Woodsedge consists of 15 garden-style, walk-up apartments nestled in the woods of rural Alfred. Built in 1981, the property underwent $400,000 in major renovations in 2018 that included new windows, roofing, siding, paving, and lighting on all buildings as well as a redesigned community room.

“Woodsedge is an oasis. I am so grateful to be living here,” said resident Delores “Dee Dee” Garcia, who agreed to show her apartment as part of the tour. “This is such a close-knit community. We all help each other.”

The Woodsedge community has been fully occupied since July 2020, and, like other Avesta properties, there is a long wait list for potential tenants. The average tenant income is $13,056, and many of the residents have lived at the complex for years. This is both a testament to the desirability of Avesta properties and the increasing need for low-income housing for seniors in Maine and New Hampshire.

“We are grateful for Partners Bank’s gift and for the charitable work it provides to its communities,” Totman said. “The generosity of Partners and our other supporters is essential to helping us continue our mission to provide quality, affordable housing to our senior population.”