Bath, Maine – Bath Housing has released its new housing vision for the greater Bath region. The visioning process was led by Bath Housing Development Corporation over the course of 2020. The organization embarked on a project to analyze housing needs and then articulate a housing vision that outlines values and broad goals for the region. The hope is that the vision will drive future efforts in this region – efforts that may involve the creation of new housing, but that do not stop there.
Housing needs have outpaced available solutions. This is evident in the recent analysis, which showed that over 1,750 households in Bath struggled to pay for housing in 2019. The struggle has been compounded since 2020 in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, a robust national discussion of structural racism, and a struggling economy. This is a critical juncture, especially as local communities and the state have robust opportunities to explore and implement creative approaches that support a range of housing options, given the current depth of need.
The analysis, conducted by Levine Planning Strategies and which can be found at https://www.bathhousing.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Bath-Report-2.10.2021.pdf, highlights the mismatch between the housing types, sizes, and quality and the needs of those living in the region. Over 40% of households in the region are spending more than 30% of their income on housing. This is compounded by an average 42% increase in rents over the past five years, increases driven by net in-migration to the region.
Bath Housing offers this vision for our community:
- The Bath region is vibrant, resilient, and inclusive. Everyone who works here, grew up here, wants to stay here or wants to come here has a reasonable opportunity to live here.
- Local policies support diverse housing opportunities: A range of housing options meets the varied and changing needs of an economically and increasingly racially diverse population including current residents and newcomers alike. The community will engage in an examination and analysis of existing and potential regulations to ensure compatibility with the stated housing goals.
- Housing efforts in Bath will be approached collaboratively, with regional partners including neighboring communities, non-profits and for-profit developers.
In the coming year, Bath Housing will collaborate with municipalities and other community partners to achieve this vision. 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.
“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 – and we look forward to working with municipalities and regional partners in the coming year to achieve our newly defined vision.”
For more information, contact Bath Housing, 80 Congress Avenue, Bath, ME 04530, by calling 207-443-3116 or via the website at www.bathhousing.org.