The John T. Gorman Foundation announced Wednesday that it will give $900,000 in grants to five Maine institutions or organizations that provide services to disadvantaged seniors.

The grants, to be paid out over two years, will be divided up between the Bath Housing Development Corportation, AARP Maine, the University of Maine’s Center on Aging’s Senior Companion Program, the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging (which has five branches throughout the state) as well as various community action programs throughout the state.

The foundation made the decision to commit the resources based on a report it had commissioned from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy on the status of seniors. It found that Maine has a higher percentage of seniors with low incomes – 29 percent – than New Hampshire and Vermont, which have 21.1 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively.

Half of Maine’s seniors who are renters live in homes where more than 30 percent of the total household income goes toward housing costs. Three times as many of these low-income seniors are likely to live alone than their higher-income peers.

Maine has the highest median age of any state in the country, and the third highest percentage of people aged 65 and older.

“The data in this new report confirm what folks working on this issue have long believed: that far too many of Maine’s seniors face some very challenging issues,” explained Tony Cipollone, president and CEO of the John T. Gorman Foundation, in a statement. “We wanted to respond appropriately to help address some of these issues, and believe that supporting nonprofits that have a deep understanding of seniors’ needs in our state is the best way to do so.”

– Staff Writer Mary Pols


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