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Roundtable addresses Maine housing challenges

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - USDA Rural Development held a roundtable discussion at the University of Maine Augusta campus to discuss an ongoing issue in Maine on Wednesday.

It was all about affordable housing.

Maine housing partners and policy makers came together to talk about solutions.

“Housing is really front and center of everybody’s mind these days,” said Dan Brennan, Maine Housing director.

The purpose of the forum is to create partnerships while sharing information about the work being done. The state director with USDA says it is all part of helping people.

“Everyone here is a little bit more aware of what the other person is doing, so if someone does call rural development and we cannot service them, I have a greater understanding of where to direct them,” said Rhiannon Hampson.

She also says the meeting was to identify barriers. One of them was within the workforce.

“We know where those spaces are that it’s more necessary perhaps than ever to be able to house the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians that we need to build further affordable housing,” Hampson said.

For Juana Matias with the Department of Housing and Development, it is much more than where we lay our heads.

“Housings are a social determinate of health, it has an implication of where you go to school, it has an implication of the job opportunities you have,” Matias said.

As the regional administrator serving six states including Maine, she says she is optimistic for the future, but there is work to be done.

“We need to come together understand the issues and then create workstreams, bring our resources together so that at the end of the day, we’re serving the residents of Maine in the way that they’d hoped so,” Matias said.

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