Governor Janet Mills signed two bills on Wednesday that aim to ease Maine's housing crunch.

Finding housing in Maine is tough enough, but finding affordable housing can be downright daunting. Attention has been paid, in recent years, to constructing housing units for the state's senior population, but young families are often left wanting. So this week, Governor Mills signed a pair of bills that her administration says should make more housing available statewide.

I am proud to sign these bills into law and to continue the progress we have made addressing Maine's housing shortage.

Mills went on to say that she hopes these initiatives will help more Mainers say 'Welcome Home.'

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One Bill Deal with Zoning Laws and Alternative Dwelling Units

LD 2003, sponsored by House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, will address zoning laws in Maine municipalities, making it possible for more multi-family residences on house lots currently zoned for single-family dwellings. Specifically, it would allow for the construction of alternate dwelling units on those house lots, like in-law apartments or duplexes. Speaker Fecteau says Maine is taking action to address its housing shortages by increasing the supply in order to meet the demand.

We're seeing rising home and rent costs impacting families from Aroostook County on down. I believe that with this legislation, Maine will be on the forefront on solving this crisis.

In some of Maine's largest growth communities, residents could build additional housing units, for a total of four units per lot. All regional building codes would have to be observed.

The Other Bill Addresses Tax Laws and Historic Buildings

Governor Mills also signed LD 201 which extends the sunset date for the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit from 2025 to 2030. This measure aims to encourage owners to fix up historic buildings rather than letting them fall to ruin. Senator Matt Pouliot says housing prices have been driven up to the point where too large a percentage of the population is left behind.

If you're in the bubble where you're a first-time homebuyer or can only afford housing up to a certain dollar amount, you can't find not only what you want but just even what you  need to simply survive.

In many Maine communities, the number of available rental units is at an all-time low and prices are at an all-time high. Augusta Housing, for example, reports that 100 new units will be added this year, but MaineHousing estimates the city would need 847 units to meet the current need.

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