SOUTH PORTLAND — In the coming months, a municipal committee will examine factors that are contributing to a lack of affordable rental housing in the city.

The city’s new Affordable Housing Committee will meet for the first time at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the lower-level conference room at City Hall.

The City Council appointed the committee last week to review the quantity, accessibility and affordability of rental housing in the city.

The 11-member committee is expected to draft policy recommendations that the council might adopt to promote a balanced supply of rental housing options affordable to various demographic groups, spanning all incomes and ages.

The committee may work jointly with similar groups in neighboring communities that are addressing housing accessibility and affordability as a regional issue, according to a memo from City Manager Jim Gailey.

The lack of affordable rental housing in the Greater Portland area was the focus of a Portland Press Herald special investigation that found a combination of social and economic trends has overwhelmed the local apartment market, pushing some residents out of their homes and influencing regional demographics.

In South Portland in particular, renters are facing longer waits and higher rates in a tight market that forces some to widen their search for housing and lengthen their commute to work.

Appointed as a temporary committee, the group is charged with reporting back to the council in three months. The council may extend the work of the committee to tackle other housing concerns.

The committee members are: Richard Berman, housing developer; Michael Duvernay, board member, Southern Maine Landlord Association; Mike Hulsey, executive director, South Portland Housing Authority; Chris Kessler, founder, South Portland Tenants Association; Tiffanie Bentley, Kathleen Bouchard, Kim Coit, and Adrian Dowling, members at large; Isaac Misiuk, member, Planning Board; Tex Haeuser, planning director; Joshua Reny, assistant city manager.


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