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Business and Economy

New Project Looks To Bring More Child Care, Affordable Housing To Portland

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Robbie Feinberg
/
Maine Public
Camelia Babson-Haley, the executive director of Youth & Family Outreach, speaking at a press conference in Portland on Thursday.

Developers of a new building in Portland's Bayside neighborhood say the project will help address the city's need for more affordable housing and child care.

The new project is a partnership between the Portland Housing Authority and child care provider Youth & Family Outreach

The planned six-story building would nearly double the number of children served by the provider. Developers will renovate the current child care facility, which serves 58 children, and construct an attached six-story building with more child care space and 60 housing units.

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A rendering of part of the future Bayside child care space.

Portland Housing Authority Executive Director Cheryl Sessions says the project would help fill two urgent needs for working families in the city.

"Housing and child care are fundamental to family well-being," she says. "Every family deserves to live in safe, quality housing they can afford. And to have child care in a safe, clean environment while they're at work."

Camelia Babson-Haley, the executive director of Youth & Family Outreach, says her organization gets about a dozen calls per week from families desperate to find care for their children.

"And our waitlist is over 100 children long," she says. "And has been for probably a decade. And that's why we're here today."

Officials with both organizations say they're hoping that the building's tenants will be able to take advantage of the attached child care facility, though the details of the arrangement have yet to be worked out.

Developers are hoping to break ground on the project next June and expect construction to take up to 16 months.