This story, titled, “MaineHousing changes standards, lowers cost of low-income projects,” was published November 29 in the Sun Journal.
SJ State Politics Editor
AUGUSTA — Recent changes to building standards and the way low-income housing projects are ranked by the Maine State Housing Authority for federal tax credits appear to be driving down development costs, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin said.
Poliquin, who sits on MaineHousing’s board of commissioners, said the changes mean the price for low-income housing will drop by a whopping $47,000 per unit, from $197,000 to $150,000.
Prior MaineHousing standards placed a heavy emphasis on adding green energy and energy conservation, but those standards included social programing, such as requiring subcontractors on any publicly funded project to have health insurance.
Poliquin, MaineHousing board Chairman Peter Anastos and a spokeswoman for the agency said Thursday the changes were the result of a yearlong effort to refine the standards and a ranking method that’s used to award about $2.9 million of federal tax credits each year.
Those tax credits help leverage about $25 million in private investment each year that goes toward creating housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
“We met the past year with developers and had them tell us how to lower the cost per unit so we can get more families in these apartments,” Poliquin said. “This is our first run at it and in one year, a 25 percent reduction, a $47,000 savings in one year.”
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