I write this letter on behalf of Southern Maine Agency on Aging CEO Megan Walton; Legal Services for the Elderly Executive Director Jaye L. Martin, and Avesta Housing President and CEO Dana Totman.

While we are all aware of the unprecedented housing crisis in Maine, we want to shine a light on what that means for older Mainers, many of whom are living on fixed incomes. The booming housing market, skyrocketing cost of living, long waitlists for affordable housing and market-driven rental prices create the real possibility that people in their 60s, 70s and 80s could become homeless for the first time in their lives.

At Southern Maine Agency on Aging, calls from older adults seeking help with housing-related issues have jumped 29 percent over the past year. Apartment complexes are sold and renters are put in a situation where they are not sure if their lease will be renewed, if they will be able to afford to stay because of rent increases or if they will be evicted. Our partner organizations providing affordable housing share similar stories of an unprecedented number of older adults finding themselves, through no fault of their own, facing the reality of being unhoused.

There aren’t many housing resources available, and the waitlists are daunting. Homelessness is a threat to more and more older Mainers with no real solutions to address it. We need to find new, age-friendly solutions to the housing crisis that make it possible for Mainers to age in place in their communities.

Bistra Nikiforova
communications specialist, Southern Maine Agency on Aging

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