Sen. Curry introduces bill to ensure better housing services for seniors and Mainers with disabilities

Sat, 05/01/2021 - 10:30am

AUGUSTA — Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, introduced a bill this week to provide more housing resources for Maine seniors and people with disabilities.

LD 1557, “An Act To Ensure the Provision of Housing Coordinator Services to Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities,” was the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.

“Maine already has a housing problem, and as we brace for a wave of older Mainers who want to age in place, we need to dedicate more resources toward making affordable housing available to them,” said Sen. Curry. “Housing services are spread out across many agencies and organizations, and it can be difficult to locate the resources that can help. By establishing a new statewide coordinator position, we can compile this information and make it easier for people to use, while giving us a better picture of what gaps still exist.”

LD 1557 would create a Housing Coordinator position within Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The Housing Coordinator would be responsible for collaborating with public and private agencies and organizations that work on issues of housing and aging and disability services to make publicly available information about housing resources.

The Coordinator would also periodically submit reports to DHHS identifying gaps in services for inclusion in the state’s comprehensive plan on aging.

“We know well the challenges that exist for older persons and persons with disabilities in accessing affordable, accessible housing,” said Brenda Gallant, Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman. “We believe there will be a direct benefit from the creation of a Housing Coordinator within the department to support collaboration among state agencies to identify strategies for planning and public information regarding housing resources.”

LD 1557 faces further action in committee.