Sustain Southern Maine formed a Regional Housing Council to assist with two primary tasks: a Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (RAI) and a Population and Housing Market Analysis. In addition to existing Partner members the Council included representatives from housing authorities, municipalities, Cumberland County, homeless advocates, senior advocates, legal advocates, non-profit loan institutions, banks, developers, and regional planning organizations.
The RAI was completed to identify strategies and actions that will facilitate the development of housing opportunities for all. The Population and Housing Market Analysis was created as a companion document to the Centers of Opportunity pilot projects. The analysis looks at the existing population and housing characteristics and related projections of each of the pilot project communities plus 3 additional service centers. It provides an analysis of gaps in the housing market for each community. The diversity of communities examined also makes the analysis useful to other communities in the region to aid in decision making regarding housing policy.
Additionally, a Housing Efficiency Report was completed to address the challenges of a region with older housing stock and a cold climate resulting in high costs of living stemming from home heating burdens. These 3 documents together contributed to the suite of housing priority strategies and actions intended to guide the region and implement the Centers of Opportunity concept. Complementing this work was a provocative Knowledge Sharing session, Affordable Housing for Regional Prosperity, aimed at shedding light on the misconceptions of affordable housing and its role in the economy.