We, as co-chairs of the Cumberland Aging in Place Committee, are writing to urge support for L.D. 1205, a bipartisan proposal to issue a bond to create 1,000 new units of affordable senior housing.

As we have studied the challenges to our aging population, we in Cumberland have identified a wide range of needs that we are working to serve.

In that process, it has become clear that the availability of housing is the most critical issue facing Maine’s increasingly elderly citizens. For many of our older neighbors, there is a very real risk that they will be forced out of their homes and communities.

Across the state, Maine has a shortage of options for seniors to maintain their independence where they live. The housing stock that does exist is frequently too expensive, too remote from services or too inefficient.

This is not a theoretical debate; it is a very real problem that calls for rapid and decisive action in Augusta.

L.D. 1205 would provide for a $64 million housing bond to help generate 1,000 energy-efficient homes for seniors across the state. It would also provide for repair and weatherization to help seniors remain in their existing homes.

While this is not a complete solution, it is a very reasonable step toward living up to our obligations toward our fellow citizens.

We hope that our legislators will recognize the need for action to help Mainers stay in their homes. It’s time for us to do what’s right.

Teri Maloney-Kelly and Peter O’Donnell

co-chairs, Cumberland Aging in Place Committee