A rendering of the project. Preservation of Affordable Housing

SCARBOROUGH – Maine-based nonprofit 3i HoME is creating a housing development with national nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) that will serve as an affordable “smart home” in Scarborough for adults with disabilities to live independently. 3i HoME recently announced that it has received $509,000 in federal funding for the project.

“People with disabilities who find themselves challenged to complete activities of daily living are at risk of institutional placement well before their time,” said 3i HoME founder and President Paul Linet. “With the help of this federal funding, our residents will be empowered to manage their own lives in a supportive, accessible environment that will reduce hospitalizations, emergency room visits, improve productivity, and overall health and well-being.”

The funding will be used by the agencies to design, implement, and analyze “smart home” technology aimed to assist low-income people with complex needs and disabilities in a user-friendly way. A telehealth application process will also be created. The project will be the first of its kind in Maine, according to developers’ staff. The building will be modeled after a similar residence in Calgary, Alberta Canada, they say.

The development will be created in the site of The Downs in Scarborough. If approved for state funding this year, 3i HoME’s community could potentially be created in the “phase one” of construction of The Downs Town Center. The building could begin taking residents in 2025.

The development will be built with the “Passive House” concept, an energy-efficiency standard for low-energy buildings that minimize ecological footprint while maintaining heating and cooling, say developers. The community will be designed in line with the principles of Universal Design, a concept intended for the use and mobility of all. The building will support residents with or without a wheelchair and be set up to allow for smart home technology and environmental controls.

About 50 rental apartments will be created, with a common living area, work spaces for service providers, and other amenities. One-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments rent for between $1,200 to $2,200, based on Maine’s affordable housing requirements.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 percent of Maine residents ages 18-64 have a mobility disability affecting their daily life. With the housing crisis in Maine, this population has been especially affected.

“The opportunity to collaborate with 3i HoME to address a pressing housing need in a dynamic and increasingly expensive market is in keeping with our mission to create affordable, healthy homes that support economic security, racial equity, and access to opportunity for all,” said POAH President and CEO Aaron Gornstein.

The funding comes as a result of U.S. Senators Angus King and Susan Collins advancing the project in the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Package that was signed into law in December.

“Maine’s 2023 Congressionally-Directed Spending supports important projects across the state that will improve the lives of Maine people and invest in the future of our communities,” King said in a press release. “These historic investments are going directly to the local organizations who need them the most and can effectively provide economic opportunities, personal enrichment, and other vital public services.”

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