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Affordable housing production is up in Maine — but yet to reach official goals

An apartment building under construction in South Portland, Maine.
Ari Snider
Maine Public
Avesta Housing is building a 52-unit apartment building in South Portland that will house families and individuals who came to Maine seeking asylum.

Maine housing officials say that affordable housing production has ramped up in recent years — but construction cost increases have slowed that progress.

Greg Payne, the senior housing advisor to Gov. Janet Mills, told the Legislature's housing committee on Tuesday that the state had invested $285 million in affordable housing since 2019.

That's led to a substantial increase in production, though still below a goal of 1,000 new units a year.

"Whereas before, we were doing 230 units a year, I think we're looking more like 500, 600 a year, despite the increase in per-unit development cost," Payne told the committee. "I'd say if it wasn't for that, I think we'd be right up at where our goal is."

Payne pegs those cost increases to supply and labor challenges.

The state is set to release a report within the next few weeks looking at how much housing needs to be created at both a regional and statewide level.