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Bipartisan senior housing bond heads to ballot

Bond measure among 51 bills LePage failed to act on

July 14, 2015

AUGUSTA – Maine voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on a $15 million housing bond to build affordable senior housing across the state.

The bond heads to the ballot this November after Gov. Paul LePage failed to sign or veto the bill in the 10-day period afforded to him by the Maine Constitution.

“As a state, we face a serious and growing gap between the need for affordable housing for older Mainers and the number of units that are currently available,” said Rep. Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town, a cosponsor of the measure. “This bond will help more Mainers live independently and in their own communities as they age. It will address an urgent need while also giving our economy a needed boost.”

Maine has a shortage of nearly 9,000 affordable rental homes for low-income older people, a shortfall projected to grow to more than 15,000 by 2022 unless action is taken to address the problem, according to a report by independent national research firm Abt Associates. The state also has the oldest population and the eighth-oldest housing stock in the nation.

House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, sponsored the bond measure as part of his “KeepME Home” plan to help seniors live independently in their homes and communities.

The bond measure was among the 51 bills passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor on June 30. According to the constitution, the governor has 10 days, not including Sundays, to sign or veto a bill. If he does not take either of those actions, the bill becomes law if the Legislature has not finally adjourned. For these 51 bills, the window closed on Saturday.

Dunphy is serving her first term in the Maine House. She represents Old Town and Penobscot Indian Island.

Contact:

Ann Kim [Dunphy], c. 233-1838