Expanding affordable housing in Boothbay Harbor is a high priority for people working in the Boothbay region. Through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, two affordable single-family homes will be coming to Campbell Street soon. An existing home will be renovated and one new Habitat home will be constructed.
This project is made possible through a partnership between the town of Boothbay Harbor and Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine. The Select Board voted unanimously to accept a bid proposal from Habitat to use the town tax-acquired land at 35 Campbell Street for a new affordable single family home. “Housing for working families is a major issue in our town as well as the greater Boothbay region. The Select Board is pleased to partner with Habitat so this vacant lot can add an affordable home to Boothbay Harbor. This project supports the housing goals of Boothbay Harbor’s current 2015 Comprehensive Plan to encourage and promote affordable workforce housing opportunities,” said Wendy Wolf, Select Board chair.
Habitat is also purchasing the adjacent property at 39 Campbell Street and will renovate the existing home. Both will be affordable homes suitable to help address the areas critical need for more workforce housing. The new home will be modular construction built in part offsite with Habitat volunteers completing the work once the home is delivered.
“By using modular construction we can build affordable housing more economically. The build time is much shorter, and that allows us to help more families become homeowners. It takes just eight to ten weeks from ordering the home until delivery,” said Mark Primeau, Habitat’s executive director.
A shortage of affordable housing, to rent or purchase, forces many households to spend more than the recommended 30 percent of their budget on housing expenses. This can result in families losing their current housing, not being able to access affordable housing at all, and often forcing families to cut spending on other important budget items like food, health care and clothing. According to a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Maine renter would have to earn $18.83 an hour to be able to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in the state. But the average wage for a renter in Maine is $11.44 an hour, leaving a $7.29 an hour affordability gap in pay. Maine Housing Data for 2017 shows that in Lincoln County the median home price was $215,000, while the home price affordable to those earning the median income of the area was $198,652.
“Habitat builds and renovates homes because we believe that everyone should have a safe, affordable place to call home. Homes are built partnering with families that cannot find affordable homes in the communities where they work, have housing costs that exceed 30 percent of their monthly budget, or are living in substandard conditions,” said Primeau. So much more than just a house, Habitat knows that through homeownership we also help build successful children, stronger families, and a stronger community.
Habitat makes homeownership affordable by finding free or low-cost building sites, building basic decent and energy efficient homes, and partnering with volunteers, donors, contractors and others to support the building of each home. Once completed Habitat sells the home to the family at a price that is affordable to them (monthly housing costs do not exceed 30% of their household budget) Habitat can subsidize a portion of the home’s cost, if necessary, to ensure the monthly cost is affordable.
Working with the Boothbay Region Community Resource Council, Habitat will be seeking families who currently work in the Boothbay area to become homeowners in Boothbay Harbor. Each family must be prepared to take on the responsibilities of a home. Applicants need to show two years of consistent income and their ability to make regular payments by having a credit score of at least 640. To be income eligible for a Habitat home applicants cannot earn over 80 percent of the average median income and should earn enough to afford the monthly mortgage payment.
For details on eligibility and how to apply visit http://habitat7rivers.org/programs/new-home , or call Habitat at 207-504-9332
Community members can help support the construction and renovation of the Campbell Street homes by becoming a Habitat volunteer, or by making a donation. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine visit www.habitat7rivers.org or call 207-504-9334.