Ten Years of Affordable Housing: Is Maine Making Progress. A Symposium.
In December 1987 Governor McKernan appointed a thirty-member, statewide Task Force to address the issue of affordable housing in Maine. The Task Force was charged with the tasks of investigating the quality and cost of affordable housing for lower- and middle-income families, and recommending a set of actions to improve the quality of existing housing as well as to increase the supply of housing. In September 1998 the Task Force issued a groundbreaking report that prescribed a number of local and regional—as well as private and public—solutions to the problem of affordable housing.
More than ten years later Maine housing advocates note that the state’s “crisis” in affordable housing has returned. Once again, housing markets are tight and, particularly in southern Maine, there is a shortage of affordable housing options for middle- and low-income families. In dealing with the current dearth of affordable housing, policymakers may find it useful to reflect back on the recommendations put forward little more than a decade ago. In this symposium, MPR asked four individuals with long-standing commitments to the issue of housing to comment on the recommendations put forth by the 1988 Task Force: Did Maine accomplish what it said was important ten years ago? Does the Task Force’s recommendations offer sound advice now?