L.D. 2209: Maine State Housing Authority bonds

An Act to Increase the Cap on Bonds Issued by the Maine State Housing Authority to Reflect Current Housing Production Needs in the State.
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The legislation raised the cap by $850 million to $3 billion. It had not been raised since 2001.
The Maine Monitor is recapping the 131st Legislature by highlighting legislative bills you should know about. View all of our recaps.

In March, Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill that raised the limit on Maine State Housing Authority’s ability to issue bonds, which are sold to investors to fund mortgages for first-time home buyers, as well as financing for affordable housing.

The legislation raised the cap by $850 million to $3 billion. It had not been raised since 2001.

The raised limit will help Maine build new affordable housing developments, proponents said, and is necessary to help deploy the $76 million earmarked for housing in the supplemental budget. 

Realtors, developers and affordable housing advocates testified in favor of raising the cap. While there was no opposition submitted to the committee, some other more direct, taxpayer-funded efforts at expanding housing access failed to gain traction this session.

For example, the initial version of L.D. 1710 would have dedicated $75 million annually to a new state-based rental assistance program, among other reforms.

The bill was ultimately replaced with an amendment that would create a commission to “Improve Tenant-Landlord Relationships and Maximize the Use of Housing Vouchers.” 

Read the full bill on the legislature’s website.

Submitted testimony in favor of the legislation raising Maine Housing’s bond cap warned of delays and bottlenecks without the move:

“Building new affordable housing is vital. L.D. 2209 addresses an administrative issue that could stall the recent progress we have made going from building about 250 affordable homes per year to approximately 750 a year.” ~ Laura Mitchell, Maine Affordable Housing Coalition

“There are compelling reasons why MaineHousing needs the cap to be adjusted. They include the pressures of economic changes, rising construction costs and increased demand for housing. Without an increase of the cap, the future of planned projects could become at risk, ultimately hindering the statewide efforts we are seeing to address Maine’s housing crisis.” ~ John Egan, Genesis Community Loan Fund 

“My partners and I own or have site control over properties in Madison, Skowhegan, Rumford, Sanford, Biddeford and Portland where we could create hundreds of more desperately needed homes with MaineHousing’s ongoing partnership.” ~ Brian Eng, Maine Cooperative Development Partners 

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Josh Keefe

Josh Keefe is a government accountability reporter with The Maine Monitor. He joined The Monitor in March 2024. Previously, he worked as an investigative reporter for The Tennessean in Nashville and the Bangor Daily News. Originally from the Bangor area, he is a graduate of Skidmore College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He lives in Portland.
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