Gov. Mills signs Sen. Deschambault bill to help municipalities provide affordable housing

Posted: June 23, 2021 | Senator Deschambault

AUGUSTA – On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford. LD 953, “An Act To Improve Affordable Housing Options and Services To Address Homelessness,” helps municipalities provide affordable housing for community members through tax increment financing.

“I’m so grateful to Gov. Mills and to my colleagues in the Legislature for their support, and to the amazing groups and organizations that came together to make this bill possible,” said Sen. Deschambault. “The housing crisis in our state is only going to get worse if we don’t start finding some practical solutions. This new law will help towns provide their low-income and unhoused residents with the assistance they so desperately need.”

LD 953 allows municipalities to use tax increment financing to pay for affordable housing developments and housing services for people who are experiencing homelessness. 

“If enacted, LD 953 would allow new tax revenues to be used directly to support an affordable housing initiative within the same community,” said Biddeford City Manager Jim Bennett, in testimony supporting the bill. “Most importantly, this tool is solely controlled by the municipality and does not require any approval by the private investor. Affordable housing advocates (as well as advocates for the homeless) will have the opportunity to see new market rate developments as a means to their goal instead of only a barrier. In Biddeford, it is fully anticipated LD 953 would be used to directly support the Biddeford Housing Authority’s plan to build a new project in our downtown, featuring 2 and 3 bedroom family units; units that private affordable housing developers too often avoid because of financing limitations.”

The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.