Despite its passage months ago, the bond funds earmarked for older Mainers in need of affordable housing have yet to be released. Maine State Housing Authority awaits word from Gov. Paul LePage. Meanwhile, older, vulnerable Mainers, many of whom have been kept in limbo for years, continue to wait for a home they can afford.

Maine’s senior housing shortage is at a crisis point. Nearly 9,000 older Mainers are waiting for affordable housing options in their communities. Some are being told it will be at least five years before they will have a home. Without action, the shortfall of affordable housing will grow to more than 15,000 by 2022.

Surveys consistently show that Mainers want to remain in their own homes and communities as they grow older. The housing bond will begin to enable more Mainers to do just that by building new, affordable homes for older Mainers and dedicating funds to home repair and weatherization of existing homes, some of the oldest in the country.

Last year, a broad coalition of more than 150 organizations, including aging and housing advocates, developers and construction workers, came together to pass bipartisan legislation and then took the issue to the voters, who supported the measure with close to 70 percent of the vote.

High housing costs force millions of low-income older adults to sacrifice spending on other necessities, undermining their health and well-being. In fact, 37 percent of those age 80 and over pay more than 30 percent of income for housing.

The governor must take action on behalf of the people of Maine. From Fort Kent to Kennebunk, people are looking for housing they can afford so they can remain in their own communities as they age. AARP Maine calls upon Gov. LePage to release the bond funds immediately.

Rich Livingston

AARP Maine state president

Auburn