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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.

Avesta Housing holds grand opening for new affordable housing project in Portland

With affordable housing hard to come by in Maine, it’s led some to get creative.

Wednesday night, Avesta Housing cut the ribbon on new affordable apartments built in an old office building.

The housing project is giving nearly 100 people an affordable place to live in the heart of downtown Portland.

Avesta to host grand opening of Deering Place on June 22

Avesta Housing will host a grand opening celebration of Deering Place, a new 75-unit affordable housing development in downtown Portland, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 22. The event is free and open to the public.

The grand opening celebration will be held at 510 Cumberland Ave. and will feature guest speakers, refreshments, giveaways, and more. No RSVP is required.

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.

 

New members appointed to Avesta, 75 State Street boards

Avesta Housing has appointed new members to the Avesta Housing Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for 75 State Street, an affiliate of Avesta:

Alice Kabore, multicultural and multilingual coordinator for the South Portland School Department, has joined the Avesta Housing Board of Directors. Since 2019, Alice has been the African Gala chair for Sacred Heart Catholic Church/Saint Dominic Parish in Portland, which is dedicated to Portland’s immigrant community. She holds a bachelor’s degree from ESCO–IGES University in Burkina Faso and completed additional college work at Citrus College in Glendora, Calif. She is a certified residential medication aide, certified nursing assistant and personal support specialist.

 

 

 

Diane Donaldson, senior vice president and commercial banking team lead with Bangor Savings Bank, has joined the 75 State Street Board of Trustees. Diane has been with Bangor Savings Bank for more than 15 years and has worked in commercial lending for almost 33 years. A Maine native, Diane began her career in Boston and moved back to Maine in 1995. Diane is also on the board of directors for Sweetser, for which she is chair of the governance committee and serves on the human resource and executive committees. She also serves on the board of directors of the Genesis Fund and is a member of its finance committee. Diane received her bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

Deering Place wins MEREDA development award

Deering Place, Avesta Housing’s newest affordable housing development in Portland, has been named one of the top real estate developments in Maine by the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA). The award was presented during MEREDA’s annual spring conference on May 24 at Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland and accepted by Avesta Housing Development Officer Pat Hess and Drew Wing, a former Avesta employee and current chief operating officer for Zachau Construction, general contractor for Deering Place.

The seven developments were selected based on criteria that included environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, social impact, uniqueness, difficulty of development, and job creation. According to a press release by MEREDA, they “not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to excellent jobs and increased tax bases for our cities and towns.”