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'I can’t stop being joyous and happy': Penquis opens new affordable housing building

The Stephen B. Mooers Village is an affordable living building in Bangor for seniors over the age of 55.

BANGOR, Maine — While the coronavirus pandemic has changed daily life, nonprofits around the state are still working to fulfill their missions. The statewide organization Penquis works to alleviate and eliminate the causes and conditions of poverty in Maine.

On Wednesday, years of hard work was on display as Penquis and its partners cut the ribbon at the Stephen B. Mooers Village in Bangor. The 39-unit building will offer affordable housing to those over the age of 55.

The building is named after Stephen B. Mooers, who was a long-time affordable housing employee for Penquis. A plaque, and bronzed cowboy boots, are present in the building's lobby.

“I can’t stop being joyous and happy," Penquis President and CEO Kara Hay said. "In Maine alone, there are over 10,000 people waiting for safe, affordable housing much like this one.”

Maine's affordable housing problem was a subject addressed by many speakers at Wednesday's event. MaineHousing, Penquis, and other partners remain committed to putting more projects online to offer residents affordable places to live.

“This is incredibly important for Bangor, it’s incredibly important for older Mainers and we can’t wait to create more," Hay added.

Credit: NCM

Jason Bird is the Housing Development Director for Penquis. He said this project took two to three years to finish, with no delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were very lucky not to have any issues and any major, major delays due to an outbreak or anything like that on the staff," he said.

Each unit is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom layout. 

“Occupancy can start as soon as November first, and so we already have, out of the 39 units we already have 20 that are committed and spoken for," Bird said.

Next door, construction vehicles are prepared to continue working as Penquis is opening a new affordable housing building next year. It too will be exclusive for older residents. 

Credit: NCM

Bird said anyone 55 and older making $30,000 or less in income per year is eligible to apply to live at the two buildings.

Bird added units are still available at Mooers village and the new building. If you know someone who may be interested, you can call Penquis' Property Manager at 207-866-4634.