The 13-unit Carpenter Court off Broadturn Road in Scarborough is now complete. The final home in the development sold last month. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

SCARBOROUGH — Owning her Carpenter Court home, which she helped build with the aid of Habitat for Humanity, has been a dream come true for Peggy Stewart.

Peggy Stewart sits in the living room of her new home at Carpenter Court in Scarborough. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Stewart moved to the 13-house neighborhood off Broadturn Road in August, ending years of jumping from rental to rental in Scarborough.

“This is my own home, my own place and it is plenty of space for me and my kids,” said Stewart, a single mother who moved to Maine in 2013 with her children, now 14 and 17, after losing her job in Connecticut.

Not everyone in Scarborough has been so lucky, as the housing crunch in the town and in Southern Maine continues.

Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said the town does not have a good estimate of what the exact need for affordable housing is in Scarborough, nor does it keep a waiting list for when those units materialize.

Cynthia Taylor, president of Housing Initiatives of New England, the operator of Bessey Commons, said there are 100 people on the waiting list for her affordable housing building for those 55 and older.

Town Councilor John Cloutier, a member of Greater Portland Council of Government’s Metro Coalition, said in looking at Scarborough demographics, he sees a significant shortage of homes affordable to households that make between $35,000 and $75,000 and the town is particularly in need of homes priced between $150,000 and $300,000. The median home value in Scarborough in 2018 was $360,800 and the median income was $95,000.

Cloutier is working on presenting a resolution to the council that would encourage the town to expand housing units in the area that are affordable to low- and middle-income households by 10% by 2025. Cloutier said he would like to have a workshop on the topic in the coming months.

In October, Avesta Housing finished a five-year effort to add 38 affordable units to the 214-year-old Southgate Farmhouse at 577 Route 1. A senior housing property on Griffin Road also recently opened.

More affordable housing projects for seniors may soon be coming down the pipeline. Two projects in Scarborough – a Housing Initiatives of New England project to add 40 affordable apartments at Bessey Commons and a Developers Collaborative project to construct a 39-unit complex at The Downs – recently received senior housing bond funds from Gov. Janet Mills’ office.

Hall said he expects the town will soon be seeing an application for an affordable housing development behind the Town & Country Federal Credit Union Center on Little Dolphin Drive.

Carpenter Court, which broke ground four years ago and was completed last month when the final home was sold, includes eight houses sold through the Habitat for Humanity model and five dwellings sold through Scarborough Housing Alliance. To date, it is the largest project Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has done.

“It is a good feeling, certainly,” Laura Duplissis, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s communication and volunteer manager, said of seeing the property fully inhabited. “I have been here throughout the entire project. It is great to see it go from a dirt patch to a wonderful neighborhood.”

Established locally in 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has built close to 100 homes in and around Portland.

Stewart said she quickly felt at home at Carpenter Court, which, she said, is a busy place on the weekends with residents walking their dogs and children riding their bicycles and scooters around the cul-de-sac.

Through the Habitat for Humanity’s model of sweat equity, Stewart did some painting, flooring and drywall work at her home and helped to build her neighbor’s home.

“In all of the places I’ve lived, I’ve never had the community spirit we have here,” Stewart said.

Duplissis said finally being able to own a home means a lot to the residents of Carpenter Court and other projects Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has helped to build.

“Most of these individuals couldn’t dream of owning a home before and having that stability for their family,” Duplissis said. “It brings a sense of comfort and relief.”

Stewart, who most recently was renting a home at Pine Point, began the process to secure her home in March. After meeting with financial lenders and Habitat for Humanity officials, she finally got the call she was waiting for in May.

“I cried for a couple of days,” Stewart said. “I was in total disbelief.”

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