The construction of a 38-unit affordable housing development near the Topsham Crossing subdivision off Tedford Road is likely to begin in the spring of 2022.

The project was unanimously approved by the planning board in February this year.

“The application for financing has been submitted to the Maine Housing Authority, and we hope to hear back from them in the next couple of weeks,” said Topsham Housing Authority Executive Director John Hodge. “We will be meeting with them soon to discuss whether the project is viable.”

If the project looks promising, Hodge said they would submit 50% of the drawing plans to the Maine Housing Authority, and once those get approved, they will submit the 90 percent drawing plans and then put it out to bid. They hope to get this work done latest by December, he said.

Topsham Housing Authority is trying to create affordable housing to serve working families earning up to 60% of the area median income. For a family of four, that’s about $51,500 per year. The 38-unit apartment complex would consist of two-and three-bedroom apartments.

Hodge said this project is important as there are not enough rental units in the housing market in this area, and people are struggling to find apartments that they can afford.

“Rents have skyrocketed over the last couple of years, and working people are struggling to find decent apartments that they can afford. So, these units will be affordable,” added Hodge.

According to Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, only about 52 affordable housing units exist for every 100 Maine families earning 30% of the median income or less.

There are currently five low-income housing apartment communities offering 170 affordable apartments for rent in Topsham.

The housing in Topsham has been “generally affordable,” according to The Maine State Housing Authority. As per the last updated data in 2017, the median income in Topsham was $41,303, and the annual income needed to afford median two-bedroom rented accommodation was $37,083.

About 361 households, or 45.1%, are unable to afford a median two-bedroom apartment in the town, as per the data.

Hodge said they would be targeting people earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median income so that it will be helpful to those who cannot afford to buy or rent these expensive apartments.

Earlier this year, Gov. Janet Mills had signed a bill that will expand affordable housing in Maine. The bill aims to double the current rate of new affordable housing production by creating a tax credit program administered by the Maine State Housing Authority.

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