Avesta Housing names 2022 scholarship winners

Avesta Housing has named the recipients of its 2022 educational scholarships. The $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to Avesta Housing residents who are enrolling in a secondary education program — such as college, graduate school, trade school, or certificate programs — in the next 12 months.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Avesta Housing. To mark this historic occasion, Avesta has expanded the number of scholarship recipients from two to three for the first time.
This year’s recipients are:

  • Meredith Bolduc, South Portland: A single mother of a special needs child, Meredith has enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University to complete her Bachelor’s degree. “My biggest educational goal is to graduate from college so I can have a career that will support my family, help others, be personally satisfying, and allow for a balanced lifestyle,” she said.
  • Oumalkaire Omar, Portland: Omar is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in finance at Howard University. She intends to obtain her Master’s degree and help others improve their financial literacy. “My vision for change is to create lasting opportunities, policies, and institutions to secure financial stability in my home country Djibouti for generations to come,” she said. (Oumalkaire’s sister, Hanan, won an Avesta educational scholarship last year.)
  • Johan Sifa, Portland: Johan is in her second year as an international business major at Champlain College. Her career goal is to partner with nonprofits around the world to help provide educational opportunities to children. “Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a passion for helping others … the more I grow, the more I realize that that is who I am,” she said.

 

While awaiting guidance on state’s $100 million housing fund, developers ponder the pitfalls

When affordable housing developer NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire embarked on its latest project – an affordable housing development in Nashua – it should have been familiar territory.

The development is slated to hold 45 one- to two-bedroom units. Just three years ago, NeighborWorks, a nonprofit based in Manchester, completed a similar project in Merrimack: 45 two- and three-bedroom units.

But construction costs and material shortages have exploded since 2019, and the environment for developers has changed significantly. This year, the Nashua development is expected to be 40 percent more expensive than the Merrimack complex, despite featuring smaller units, according to Robert Tourigny, executive director of NeighborWorks.

 

 

Rebecca Hatfield named new president, CEO of Avesta Housing

Rebecca Hatfield, senior vice president of real estate at Avesta Housing, has been named president and CEO of the affordable housing nonprofit.

Hatfield, who joined Avesta in 2015, will succeed longtime President and CEO Dana Totman when he retires in September. Totman announced in January that he would retire after 22 years.

Portland-based Avesta Housing is the region’s largest provider of affordable housing, with 109 properties and more than 4,600 residents.

 

Avesta Housing names successor to longtime CEO Dana Totman

Following a nationwide search, Rebecca Hatfield has been promoted to president and CEO of the nonprofit Avesta Housing, succeeding longtime leader Dana Totman.

Hatfield, who joined Avesta in 2015, has been senior vice president of real estate at the Portland-based developer of affordable housing. She will move into her new role on Sept. 6.

She will oversee an organization with 300 employees and a portfolio of 109 properties with 4,600 residents.

Avesta’s scope includes real estate development, property management, housing stability services and assisted living, with affordable housing at its core.

“It’s a critical time for me to lead the largest affordable housing organization in northern New England. I have a strong commitment to helping solve the housing crisis,” Hatfield told Mainebiz.

Rebecca Hatfield named new President & CEO of Avesta Housing

Following a months-long, nationwide search, Rebecca Hatfield has been chosen as the next president and CEO of nonprofit affordable housing provider Avesta Housing. Hatfield is currently senior vice president of real estate at Avesta, and her promotion to president and CEO is the latest testament to the skills and accomplishments she has exhibited since joining the organization in 2015.

The Avesta Housing Board of Directors selected Hatfield from a highly competitive pool of applicants due to her strong leadership skills; extensive experience in nonprofit management, finance and real estate development; and deep commitment to Avesta’s mission.

“Rebecca impressed us with her compassion for the people in our community and her strategic vision for our organization,” said Jonathan Culley, chair of the Avesta Housing Board of Directors. “As Avesta celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we are excited to support Rebecca as she leads this nonprofit into the next chapter of its history.”

Avesta Housing is the largest nonprofit affordable housing provider in northern New England, with 109 properties and more than 4,600 residents. In her new role as president and CEO, Hatfield will oversee 300 employees working to provide safe, quality, affordable homes and support services for people in need through real estate development, property management, housing stability services and assisted living.

“I am honored to be selected for this important role,” Hatfield said. “The affordable housing crisis in our community has reached unprecedented levels. I look forward to working with our staff, residents, partners, policymakers and neighbors to address these challenges and ensure that everyone has a place to call home.”

Hatfield will replace current Avesta Housing President & CEO Dana Totman upon his retirement in September. During his 22 years with Avesta, Totman has led the organization through tremendous growth: the number of staff has increased from 60 to 300, affordable homes in the Avesta portfolio have increased from 700 to 3,200, and assets have increased from $60 million to $350 million.

Prior to joining Avesta, Hatfield was a senior vice president at Citigroup. She brings over 15 years of experience in finance and real estate with a focus on deal structuring, underwriting, portfolio management and relationship management. Her previous employment also includes five years as a software and network management engineer.

Hatfield was named a 2021 Mainebiz Women to Watch and is actively involved in the community beyond her role at Avesta. She serves as the board vice chair and loan committee chair for Genesis Community Loan Fund and serves on the boards of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association (MEREDA) and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. She is also a corporator for Androscoggin Bank. Previously, she served on the board of the Maine Council on Aging.

Avesta Housing presents STRIVE U with Mike Yandell Award

STRIVE U of South Portland has been awarded the Avesta Housing Mike Yandell Award for its extraordinary work in the field of affordable housing. Avesta Housing President & CEO Dana Totman presented the award on June 22 to Pete Brown, associate director of PSL Services/STRIVE, during Avesta’s grand opening celebration of Deering Place, a 75-unit affordable housing development in downtown Portland.

Named for the late Mike Yandell, a former Avesta Housing board chair and the former president of Gorham Savings Bank who is remembered for his commitment to improving the community, the award is presented to an individual or organization that helps provide safe, quality, affordable housing to people in Maine or New Hampshire.

STRIVE U teaches adults ages 18 to 25 with emotional and intellectual disabilities the skills needed to live independently. Avesta Housing partners with PSL Services/STRIVE to provide affordable housing and services to STRIVE U graduates.

“At Avesta, we respect independence, and we also want to ensure that help and guidance are provided to residents as needed,” Totman said. “There’s a very difficult balance between allowing people to live on their own and providing help when needed. STRIVE U provides that level of service and support to residents so that they can succeed. Quite simply, they get it right.”

 

Dana Totman honored with Congressional Record entry

Avesta Housing President & CEO Dana Totman has been honored by U.S. Sen. Angus King (I–Maine) in the Congressional Record for his 22 years of service at Avesta and in the affordable housing industry.

Teague Morris, outreach director for King, presented Totman with an official copy of the Congressional Record on June 22 during the grand opening ceremony of Deering Place, a new 75-unit affordable housing development in downtown Portland, Maine.

The tribute, which was entered into the Congressional Record on June 14, reads in part: “While Dana cares about the bricks and mortar that become the homes of many, he cares most about the people who get to call these places home. It is these individuals who drive his passion. … It is a privilege to join with his colleagues, friends, and the people of Maine in recognizing Dana for dem­onstrating innovation, true excellence in his work, and unwavering compassion to those seeking – and finding – a home.”

 

Avesta hosts grand opening celebration of Deering Place

On June 22, Avesta Housing held a grand opening celebration of Deering Place, a new 75-unit affordable housing development located in the heart of downtown Portland in the historic Parkside neighborhood.

A mixture of affordable and market-rate units, Deering Place consists of three apartment buildings located on contiguous lots in the historic Parkside neighborhood: 63 Deering St., a new building; 61 Deering St., a renovated apartment building; and 510 Cumberland Ave., an adaptive reuse of an existing building with a new addition and enclosed parking. Construction on all three buildings utilized sustainable design practices for maximum energy efficiency.

The grand opening featured speeches by Jonathan Culley, chair of the Avesta Housing Board of Directors; Dana Totman, Avesta Housing president & CEO; and Lucas Boniva, a Deering Place resident and graduate of STRIVE U, a program by PSL Services/STRIVE aimed at teaching its students necessary skills to live independently in the community.

Lucas Boniva

 

In addition, Totman presented the Mike Yandell Award to STRIVE U, which was accepted by PSL Services/STRIVE Associate Director Pete Brown. Named for the late Mike Yandell, a former Avesta Housing board chair and the former president of Gorham Savings Bank who is remembered for his commitment to improving the community, the award is presented to an individual or organization that helps provide safe, quality affordable housing to people in Maine or New Hampshire.

Teague Morris, outreach director for U.S. Sen. Angus King (I–Maine), presented Totman, who is retiring, with an official copy of the Congressional Record for June 14, 2022, honoring Totman for his years of service in affordable housing.

Teague Morris (left) and Dana Totman

 

A tour of a vacant apartment unit was provided following the presentation. Food for the grand opening was provided by Little Easy Snoballs, Tandem Bakery, and Plot Twist Pretzels.

Nearly half of all Maine tenants cannot afford rent, new study says

Rent has become unaffordable for nearly half of all Maine tenants, according to new data from Harvard University.

 

Affordable housing units open in heart of Portland

The housing authority in Maine, MaineHousing, estimates that Maine is between 20,000 and 25,000 affordable units short of what we need. That estimate is based on a couple of things, including the waiting list for Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) tenants and an annual survey of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which does a state-by-state breakdown.

A celebration will take place Wednesday, June 22, at the new Deering Place in downtown Portland. The development will bring 75 new homes to the city in response to the growing affordable housing crisis.