Midcoast housing crisis: hollowing out our communities
Over the next half-dozen years, Maine will need 10,000 workers to replace retirees. Data from the Maine Department of Labor suggests that employers in Knox, Waldo and Lincoln Counties will be looking for about 800 additional hires. Where will they live?
One-third of our housing stock is already reserved for seasonal occupancy. New construction has flatlined. Even when homes come up for sale, the median price now reaches $370,000 — affordable for households making $150,000 per year with $75,000 saved for a down payment. That’s about twice what most Midcoast families earn.
Many communities are becoming “hollowed out” as young families leave, school populations collapse, and essential workers move away. Within six years, we’re likely to need 200 more homes and apartments that working people can afford.
In 2020, Camden Rotary Club adopted a strategic plan to support a vital, diverse regional economy. Workforce housing is one of our highest priorities. We are partnering with a grassroots community group to form the MidCoast Regional Housing Trust, which will address this problem.