The Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program through the Maine State Housing Authority has been around for about two years.
MADISON, Maine — Construction workers in Maine are thick-blooded. On Wednesday, amidst ice and snow covering the ground in Madison, crews worked outside in 30-degree temperatures. After all, there’s a deadline to meet that’s just a few months away.
This development on Weston Avenue is being built through the Maine State Housing Authority‘s Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program. It has been around for a couple of years, giving money provided for by the state to smaller cities and towns to build housing units that can be rented out to people at an affordable price.
“This is going to be targeting 80-percent average median income families. Our targets are really young professional families and downsizing seniors,” Sam Hight, who has been helping to oversee the Madison project as a partner of the 55 Weston Avenue LLC, said.
Hight said this development is made up of two apartment buildings, one with eight units and the other with 10. He said it’s a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. The contractors and sub-contractors working on it are all locally based, within a 10-mile radius.
“A lot of the housing stock is very old,” Hight said. “This is going to be brand-new with oak hardwood flooring… tile bathrooms.”
Hight grew up in the neighboring town of Skowhegan and said he understands the need for affordable housing in the area. He said with more manufacturing jobs coming to the area—and with people able to work remotely—he’s expecting to see the region’s population begin to grow.
“We’re 45 minutes from a ski mountain and 45 minutes to the coast,” Hight said about the appeal of Madison. “I always joke about this, but it’s the crossroads of the universe: Routes 2 and 201.”
Laura Mitchell, the executive director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, said their goal is to preserve and create affordable housing. It’s why they’ve been such staunch supporters of this project.
“We’re seeing small communities really say, ‘We want quality, affordable housing; we want to support our economy, and we see the importance of it,'” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said there’s a big demand for this funding, and she would like to see more of it through the state to help even more projects get completed.
“This most recent round of funding has received 16 applications—literally from all across the state: Newcastle, Rockland, Houlton,” Mitchell said.
The apartment complex in Madison should be completed by April, and applications are now open. You can learn more here.