Spotlight Blog

PHOTO Relieved to learn her apartment would continue to be affordable, a tenant in Thomaston said, “It was life-changing for me to get in there.”

Model for Rural Maine

A Path to Preservation

More than 7,500 apartments in Maine are part of a United States Department of Agriculture program that provides affordable rental housing in rural communities for families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities.

But market pressure and maturing 30- to 40-year-old mortgages are threatening a scenario in which the sale of properties or prepayment of mortgages could remove them from the USDA program. Long-term tenants might no longer be able to afford their homes.

When thousands more are needed, losing hundreds of currently affordable homes in rural communities would be a housing disaster.

“When I signed the Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit into law in 2020, it was exactly this kind of important work that we wanted to see come to fruition.”
—JANET MILLS, Governor of Maine

In collaboration with USDA Rural Development, Genesis has rolled out an innovative model, using new resources, that transfers these properties to new ownership and keeps them in the affordable housing program. It relies on Maine’s affordable housing tax credit.

In the model’s first use, Genesis worked with a family owner to transfer two properties in Thomaston, Maine to Volunteers of America Northern New England. That preserved the affordability of 28 homes. We’re working to repeat that in other rural Maine communities.