Larissa Crockett, named Kennebunkport Heritage Housing Trust director in May, talks about the nonprofit’s first project, Heritage Woods, the need for affordable housing in town and a bit about future plans. The trust’s goal is to build 25 homes by 2025 – 6, in Heritage Woods, were completed in 2021 and all are now occupied. Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – The Kennebunkport Heritage Housing Trust was formed in the fall of 2018 with a mission: Acquire land and build housing that people who work here can  afford.

The plan? Build 25 homes by 2025. The first time out, the all-volunteer nonprofit was able to build six affordable homes and today all of them are occupied. Five of the six have families with children.

If all goes well, the trust will embark on another project – maybe two – later this year.

To assist the volunteer board  in that effort is Larissa Crockett, who started as the trust’s first executive director in late May.

Crockett is passionate about affordable housing and communities.

“We build houses working families can afford to buy so they can put down roots in the community,” said Crockett.


That is especially important in Kennebunkport, she said, where 45 percent of homes are vacant most of the year, according to the 2020 census.

There’s more. The median Kennebunkport home price as calculated in May was $990,000, said Crockett – way, way out of reach for most working families, and up considerably from just two years ago. The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission released an affordability study in 2021 that showed the median home price in Kennebunkport in 2020 was $715,000, which would have required a $174,600 annual income – when the 2020 median income was $92,455.

“That’s not affordable or attainable,” said Crockett of the figures.

Crockett, 45, comes to Kennebunkport Heritage Housing Trust after a two-year stint as town manager in Wells and after nearly four years as assistant town manager in Scarborough.

A dozen years ago, she won a seat on the Acton Board of Selectmen after serving on a number of municipal committees when she and husband and three children lived in the rural town near the New Hampshire border.

Now, she’s returned to the goal she had when she began pursuing her master’s degree at the Muskie Institute of Public Service – working for a nonprofit.


“I wanted to … create tangible good,” said Crockett. “Building homes allows a community to remain vibrant, and that feels like tangible good to me.”

The first six homes were built in 2021 in Heritage Woods, on 4.6 acres of tax-acquired property  donated by the town of Kennebunkport. Buyers signed 99-year leases on the land, which is held by the trust. Buyers qualified for and pay a mortgage, and pay property taxes on the homes.

The two, 1,688-square-foot, two-story modular homes in Heritage Woods were priced at $297,500. The four 1,200-square-foot, single-story duplex homes, at about $220,000, a trust board member said in a prior interview. To achieve the housing prices set, the homes were designed to be 76 percent financed by the homeowner, 19 percent through grants and contributions from foundations, and 5 percent through community fundraising. Crockett said to be eligible, prospective buyers had to earn between 80 and 100 percent of median income in York County.

The trust is considering two potential sites for the next projects, said Crockett, which, if acquired, would allow the nonprofit to work toward 10 homes for each site.

She said the agency is looking for a blend of donated land, which can provide tax breaks for the owner, and what they can buy.

The target date for planning the next stage is this fall, with a view to breaking ground in the spring.

There will be decisions that have to be made, she said, including the size and style of homes – those in Heritage Woods are three-bedroom – and other details. The community has said they want housing affordable for people who work in Kennebunkport,  – for municipal and school workers and others,  and for seniors, Crockett said.

Later this month, on Aug. 25, the trust will host a Scoop Off fundraiser, partnering with Kennebunkport Parks and Recreation Department and its director Stephanie Simpson for the event on the recreation fields near Consolidated School. Participants can vote for the best flavor from a field of six ice cream varieties. There will be food trucks, bounce house, music, face painting and more at the event, which begins at 6 p.m.

It’s an opportunity to thank the community of Kennebunkport for their support, Crockett said.

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