One 4 x 8 foot, 5/8” sheet of plywood now costs $45. The median price of a home in Lincoln County was $368,000 in March 2023; up from $200,000 in 2018.
Area builders and developers, for the most part, are not building low income housing. Without sizable government subsidies, which are scarce, affordable low purchase prices and rents don’t cover the costs of construction and development, much less make a profit.
The Urban Institute points out that in the U.S., “It turns out building affordable housing is not particularly affordable. In fact, there is a huge gap between what these buildings cost to construct and maintain and the rents most people can pay.” Their website explains further and offers tools that allow users to tinker with the costs and challenges of creating affordable housing.
When someone can’t find an affordable place to buy or rent, they get creative. One neighbor, who has received help from CHiP, saved a mobile home from going to the dump. Another inherited a home from family. A third bought a home that had gone decades without maintenance.
Here in Lincoln County, CHIP repairs the homes of low income people and relieves their worry of having to search for another place to live or become homeless. Testimonials from CHiP clients capture their relief. From a senior citizen, who received a new roof last summer, “I really want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I was going to have to move. But, now, I think I can stay here. There are other things we have to do [for the house], but I’ll take care of them, piece by piece. Really, thank you.”
CHiP received an email from a client whose insurance was nearly canceled due to needed home repairs. The thought that a cancellation could have left her homeless was a significant source of stress, “Hi…I am laying in my garden sobbing away as I have just read the email… about the insurance renewal… I have no words for the relief I feel or the indebtedness and respect and thankfulness I have for you and the time and help you have given me through this process. It has all been above and beyond…”
Since 1984, CHiP has been fulfilling its mission of “neighbors helping neighbors keep their homes safe, warm and dry” by providing necessary home repairs and seasonal heating assistance to central-eastern Lincoln County residents who are not able to do so themselves because of illness, disability and financial need.
CHiP services are available to residents of Alna, Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Jefferson, Newcastle, Nobleboro, Somerville, South Bristol, Waldoboro, and Whitefield. For help, please leave a voicemail at 677-3450.
Through community partners, generous individuals, supportive municipalities and compassionate grant makers, CHiP is able to do this work. Thank you for your support!