Spotlight Blog

ABOVE  In January 2024, Genesis Executive Director Liza Fleming-Ives congratulated residents and thanked partners who collaborated with Genesis to create affordable apartments at Brunswick Landing, a former naval air station in Maine. The project's first tenants are asylum seekers. Tim Greenway photo

Safety and Stability for Maine’s Newest Neighbors

By Liza Fleming-Ives, Genesis executive director

With fresh snow blanketing the ground on a sunny January day, I stood outdoors with Genesis project partners and the tenants of new housing at Brunswick Landing, a former naval air station in Brunswick, Maine.  

We celebrated a project that is testament to the power of collaboration and persistence in creating safe, high-quality, affordable housing. 

Made possible with financing from Genesis and MaineHousing and support from the office of Governor Janet Mills, 60 new units will house asylum seekers in apartments built by Developers Collaborative, a real estate developer that is a consistent Genesis partner.  

As the units neared completion this past summer, the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine reviewed more than 250 housing applications. Its staff continues to advise tenants as, like generations of immigrants who have undertaken long and often perilous journeys, they learn more about navigating their new homeland and how to expand opportunities for their families to build health and prosperity. 

Fatuma Hussein, the center’s executive director, spoke at the celebration on behalf of asylum seekers who have escaped violence in their homelands. 

“When we come to this country, we have a second chance in life—our kids can go to school and people welcome us,” she said. “For that, we are deeply grateful to the good people of Maine.” 

One tenant said, “For me and my family, the apartment is so beautiful. Thank you.”  

I was grateful to be part of the celebration—and proud to lead an organization that helps turn remarkable project ideas into homes that create safety and stability. 

Kevin Bunker, founder and principal of Developers Collaborative, once described the Genesis Fund's flexible financing and creative thinking as "the secret sauce" that has helped make several of his projects possible.  

Two of those are Freedom Place in Portland and Deer Ridge Farm in Wiscasset.   

At Freedom Place, Genesis helped Kevin’s team, with community partners including the recovery organization Commonspace (formerly Amistad), transform a historic former school into housing for women experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder.  

At Deer Ridge Farm, Maine seniors live in affordable and energy-efficient apartments, where a loan from Genesis helped preserve their homes. 

When Genesis resources help empower our partners, they can build momentum that attracts additional support and skillful, generous community participation.  

After we made a substantial construction loan for the Brunswick Landing property, and people in the community learned about this unique project, they came forward to support its goals, both professionally and as volunteers. 

Whether Genesis is financing and guiding projects to create affordable housing, healthcare centers, childcare facilities, or food pantries, we cannot overstate the importance of working together, learning from one another's expertise and lifetimes of diverse experiences, and building trust among community partners. 

Genesis witnesses every day how collaboration among stakeholders creates a foundation for transformative community projects. I look forward to learning more about how these 60 apartments at Brunswick Landing support health, educational achievement, financial stability, and community participation for those who are the first to call them home—and how our new neighbors, in turn, invigorate and strengthen the community they are joining.