Reny bill to increase affordable housing options in rural Maine signed into law
AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills has signed into law a bill from Sen. Cameron Reny, D-Bristol, that would increase affordable housing options in rural Maine communities. LD 724, “An Act to Increase Opportunities for the Development or Preservation of Low-income Housing,” previously received unanimous support in both the Senate and House.
“Access to affordable housing is a major problem across the state, including in our rural communities. We need to make sure our policies support people regardless of where they live,” said Sen. Reny. “Improving housing options in small towns was one of my top goals when I got elected, and I’m happy to see this bill signed into law.”
As amended, the bill makes changes to low-income housing and programs administered by the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA). Under the bill, MSHA would be allowed to make money available to developers of low-income housing units in more rural areas of the state. The bill also addresses what happens when a mortgage on a rental property that received special financing from MSHA because it was developed as affordable rental housing is impacted by a change that could make it no longer affordable housing. The bill provides that a local housing authority could have the option to buy the property to ensure that it remains affordable housing. Current law limits that option to MSHA. The bill also amends the law that governs state growth-related capital investments by permitting investment in a low-income housing project with up to 18 units for individuals with a household income of no more than 80% of the area median income.
LD 724 will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.