Talk of the Towns 7/14/21: The Challenge of Workforce Housing

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

What is the brief history of your organization’s work on affordable workforce housing in your community? What led to its creation? How did you decide to frame the issue for your situation?

Where did you find inspiration, including other community examples (Martha’s Vineyard, elsewhere?)

What approaches have most resonated with people in your community? What strategies have you tried and what has worked well?

How have you approached the question of keeping housing that you designate/support as affordable into the future? (covenants, etc.)

How have you engaged local government, lending agencies?

How is your work funded?

Share some vignettes about the families who have benefited from your work? How do they fit into the workforce and as community members?

What are the challenges that you have faced in getting the community to support your efforts? Are their myths about affordable, workforce housing that you have had to address?

Molly Siegel, Isle au Haut Community Development Corporation
Peter Roth, Island Workforce Housing, Deer Isle-Stonington
Marla O’Byrne, Island Housing Trust, Mount Desert Island

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.