Bath, Maine – Bath Housing gathered with more than 200 community members in the historic Columbia Block building to honor five decades of work in the greater Bath area.
“Access to stable housing is at the core of the health and wellness of individuals and families. It promotes positive outcomes that reverberate throughout the community,” said Catherine Powers, Chair of Bath Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners. “We are proud of the work Bath Housing has done to ensure that members of this community have access to housing and services that support stability, self-sufficiency, self-respect, and pride.”
Originally established in 1969 through a resolution of the City Council of Bath, Bath Housing supports a safe, vibrant, just and prosperous community by enhancing housing stability in the region. While anchored in its original mission, Bath Housing Authority highlighted innovations to meet the shifting needs of the region for today and tomorrow.
Throughout its 50-year history, Bath Housing has ensured that community members have access to stable housing through a portfolio of apartments and services. Debora Keller, Bath Housing Authority’s Executive Director, explained what stable housing means: “It means housing options that are safe, in an appropriate location, within one’s means, manageable, and not going to disappear.” While meeting the needs of existing residents is at the core of the organization’s mission, Bath Housing also shared its proactive efforts to develop and implement new approaches that address the shifting needs of the region.
“Nationwide, communities are grappling with a larger-than-ever aging population” said Debora Keller, Executive Director of Bath Housing. “Here, this demographic shift is met with both limited and aging housing stock. Seeing this trend, we’ve been working on creative ways – such as Comfortably Home—to ensure people can thrive in their homes.”
Bath Housing launched Comfortably Home in 2015. This program deploys the Bath Housing’s stellar maintenance staff to provide high-impact, minor improvements that enable area residents to live – and thrive – in their own homes. In the initial phase of the program, participants experienced a 79 percent reduction in falls, a 61 percent reduction in hospitalizations and ER visits, and an 80 percent reduction in close calls related to fires.
Another key strategy to meet the continued and shifting needs of the region includes ensuring access to housing stock. With this in mind, and a commitment to preserving the historic character of downtown Bath, earlier this year, Bath Housing Development Corporation acquired two parcels, including the Moses and Columbia Blocks and a parking lot located at 195 Front Street.
“As stewards of these properties,” said Keller, “we’re able to preserve existing modestly-priced housing for those who live and work in Bath, while also maintaining ground level retail spaces for current tenants who are a vital part of Front Street in downtown Bath.”