A rendering of a plan to redevelop Brunswick’s old Central Fire Station, which would include affordable housing. Courtesy of Aceto Landscape Architects

Brunswick officials are now accepting applications from developers who want to tap into the town’s new Affordable Housing Support Fund.

The Town Council last year established the $1 million fund in an attempt to encourage new housing projects and ease the town’s housing crunch. It will provide grants to developers for building or renovating housing units that are affordable to households earning at or below 80% of the region’s median income.

Sally Costello, the town’s director of economic and community development, said in 2022, 80% of Brunswick’s households couldn’t afford the median home price. The median household income in the Brunswick area that year was about $72,000, according to federal statistics.

“Our community cannot ignore this concerning trend, and therefore, in order to expand housing choices, the Town is employing a number of strategies to increase housing supply and preserve our existing housing stock,” she said in a statement. The council in 2022 established a Housing Committee in an attempt to increase access to affordable housing and last year approved new rules requiring some new housing developments to include a certain percentage of affordable units.

“Brunswick’s Housing Committee is taking a holistic approach to increasing affordable housing in our community — it is our goal to use grant funds broadly to incentivize production,” council Chairperson Abby King added. “We are also putting policies in place that ensure that we are addressing the needs of households at all income levels.”

The housing fund is comprised of a $500,000 state grant from MaineHousing, $250,000 in revenue from the Cook’s Corner tax increment financing district and $250,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds awarded to the town.

Applications for the fund can be found on the town website. The council will approve grants on a rolling basis.

Portland-based Developers Collaborative previously said it plans to apply for a $200,000 grant through the fund to help finance five housing units in its redevelopment of the old Central Fire Station downtown.

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