An editorial on March 31, “In Maine, senior housing is falling behind,” uses the words “affordable” and “subsidized” interchangeably. They are not interchangeable, however.

In subsidized housing, renters pay about 30 percent of their income for all-inclusive rent. In affordable housing, the rents may be below market rate, but for seniors living on only Social Security, these rents are not affordable.

A couple of cases in point: the Cony School apartments are “affordable” with rents between $780 and $950. If a person’s Social Security payment is less than $1,100 (the average Social Security payment is a little below that amount), a rent of even $780 a month is not affordable. The Buker School conversion will have 47 apartments, but only 12 of them will be subsidized. The other 35 will be slightly below market value rentals, which will put them out of reach for a person living on only Social Security.

Please be careful in the use of “affordable” and “subsidized.” They are not the same.

Phyllis Hyde


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