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USDA Rural Development Awards $170,000 for Critical Home Repairs in Rural Maine

Leigh Hallett
Release Date

Two Maine nonprofits will provide home repairs for low-income residents in Franklin, Knox, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties.

Bangor, Dec. 11, 2023U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson today announced that two Maine nonprofits are receiving Housing Preservation Grants. Bangor-based Penquis and Western Maine Community Action (WMCA) in East Wilton each secured a grant of $84,829. The organizations plan to use the funds to provide home repairs for eligible low- and very low-income residents in Franklin, Knox, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties.

A man works on a chimney on the roof of a house with wooden scaffolding around and fall foliage in the background.
WMCA repaired the chimney of this Franklin County home with funds from a previous Housing Preservation Grant. (Photo courtesy of WMCA.)

“At USDA Rural Development, we know how important home ownership is to rural Mainers,” said Director Hampson. “But paying formaintenance and even for urgent repairs can be out of reach for many people, particularly older residents. That is why we are so glad to award Housing Preservation Grants to Western Maine Community Action and Penquis. They know their communities and can put these dollars to work where they are needed the most, ensuring more low- and very-low-income Mainers can live in warm, safe homes.”

USDA’s Housing Preservation program provides grants to sponsoring organizations to repair or rehabilitate housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low-income rural citizens. Maine’s 2023 grant recipients will work with eligible homeowners across four counties:

  • Penquis (www.penquis.org) is a Bangor-based nonprofit organization incorporated in 1967 to alleviate and eliminate the causes and conditions of poverty. It will use the funds to help low- and very low-income homeowners in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox counties make necessary repairs to their homes. The program will focus on repair work that addresses accessibility, health, or safety issues associated with extremely substandard housing. Interested applicants can learn more by calling the Penquis home repair program (207-973-3665).
  • Western Maine Community Action (www.wmca.org) is a nonprofit based in East Wilton that provides services to Franklin County residents. WMCA will use the Rural Development funds to rehabilitate eligible owner-occupied homes. The program will focus on immediate health and safety issues and energy conservation repairs for low- and very low-income homeowners. Interested applicants can call the agency (207 645-3764) or email the WMCA Housing Director, William Crandall (wcrandall@wmca.org). 

USDA continues to invest in programs specifically designed to bring federal funding and resources to people and communities in underserved rural areas. Today’s Maine awards were part of a group of 208 announced nationwide. They are evidence of the Biden-Harris Administration’s continuing commitment to advancing equity for all, including those who have been historically affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

The Housing Preservation Program accepts applications from eligible state and local governments, nonprofits, and federally recognized tribes. Applications are accepted annually through a notice published in the Federal Register. The next anticipated application period will be in mid-2024. Interested Maine organizations may contact Bonnie Hayes at the USDA Rural Development State Office in Bangor (207-990-9164 or bonnie.hayes@usda.gov) for more information.


 See comments from nonprofit grant recipients here