PORTLAND, Maine — A new study released Tuesday says Maine has one of the least affordable rental housing markets in the nation.
On June 18, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an organization dedicated to finding affordable homes for the lowest income people, revealed this research in a national report.
The report found that the typical renter household in Maine makes $11.82 per hour -- $8.09 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home.
The study, which has been documenting the gap between what renters earn and how much rent costs for 30 years, also found that Maine's affordability gap is now the seventh largest in the United States.
This research comes as Maine lawmakers consider L.D. 1645, "An Act To Create Affordable Workforce and Senior Housing and Preserve Affordable Rural Housing".
Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Fecteau, the bill is designed to create a state affordable housing tax credit, administered by the Maine State Housing Authority.
The bills says 10 percent of that credit would be set aside to preserve affordable housing units built with financial help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Rural Development, and Rural Housing Service.
30 percent of the credit for new housing units would be targeted for seniors, and 20 percent would be targeted for rural areas.
The bill was passed to be enacted by the House on June 7 and was placed on the Special Appropriations table by the Senate, where it is pending passage.
The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition says that last week, Nevada became the 18th state in the country to adopt a similar state affordable house tax credit. The Coalition also says that such a tax credit in Maine would create or preserve over 1,000 affordable homes.