Governor Addresses Affordable Housing Conference

AUGUSTA, ME – October 19, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor John E. Baldacci today delivered opening remarks at the 2009 Maine Affordable Housing Conference at the Augusta Civic Center. The conference, hosted by MaineHousing, highlighted many innovations undertaken at the State level to address housing issues during these challenging economic times.

“Maine has been recognized for making quick and effective use of funds from the Recovery Act, and we’ve been aggressive in building opportunities to support housing,” said Governor Baldacci. “Earlier this year I helped kick off MaineHousing’s Gift of Green program for first-time homebuyers. It’s been a very successful program. These and other innovative programs have helped to get families into homes. We know we can’t expand our economy and add jobs if we do not have affordable housing for workers to live in.”

The Governor talked about affordable housing developments underway in Augusta and Houlton that are generating about 175 jobs. A new senior housing development scheduled to start soon in Bangor will employee about 120 people. MaineHousing estimates that affordable rental developments it already has approved will employ several hundred workers in the construction trades in the coming months.

The Governor introduced Gil Sperling of the U.S. Department of Energy as the keynote speaker at the event. Sperling leads the Weatherization division for the Department of Energy.

“Maine has been a leading state in the emerging field of energy efficiency. Weatherization efforts have enabled us to create jobs while saving residents and businesses money. We currently are putting in place statewide standards for energy auditors and related professions that will cover all our programs,” said the Governor.

“The Community Action Program agencies that are doing the weatherization work for MaineHousing report adding 55 new staff positions,” the Governor said. “In addition, they have hired 30 new private contractors to assist them. We will see many more jobs added as we make Maine housing more energy efficient – and as we reach toward our goal of weatherizing all homes and most businesses in the State over the next 20 years.”

The Governor said that weatherization is only one part of Maine’s energy future. The State has earned its reputation as a leader in developing renewable energy, with great promise for expanding green jobs. Maine was recognized on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy for its leadership in wind energy research and technology with a major investment to the University of Maine and its consortium to invest in the development of deepwater off-shore wind. On Wednesday, Governor Baldacci will be representing the State in Washington, D.C., as Maine will be recognized for making significant strides in investing in energy efficiency.

Information on all of MaineHousing’s programs can be found at http://www.mainehousing.org

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