SAFE, AFFORDABLE AND accessible housing is an important livability factor for all Augusta residents.

As we all know, Maine, although a beautiful place to live, has some harsh weather, particularly in the winter months. Fortunately, the city of Augusta has many great options for its residents, especially older adults.

Augusta is home to the Maine State Housing Authority that combines public and private housing finance to help people with low to moderate incomes purchase homes for themselves and their families. MSHA helps residents make improvements to their homes, offers homebuyer programs and provides rental assistance, homeless assistance, and energy and heating assistance to qualified individuals.

Augusta is also home to the Augusta Housing Authority and has many subsidized apartment complexes and buildings available to families, people with disabilities, and those over the age of 65 who meet income eligibility requirements. Safe, accessible, affordable and warm housing can be found all over the city — on both sides of the Kennebec River. As part of the AARP Age-Friendly Network, this article will help to showcase housing available to residents over the age of 65, but our city also has great housing options to offer to families, college students and people starting out on their own.

Most recently, Augusta Housing Authority opened the newly converted Hodgkins School Apartments which offers 47 apartments for seniors in a great location. Stewart Property Management manages the Cony Flatiron Senior Residence which has 48 apartments in the gorgeously renovated old Cony High School building. These apartments are available to people over the age of 55 and should help to decrease the large number of older adults on various waiting lists for housing across the state.

There are several other apartment buildings and complexes that offer safe, affordable housing in Augusta including 98 Water Street, John Marvin Tower, Margaret Chase Smith House apartments, Kennebec Plaza, Roncalli Apartments and more. Many of these buildings have locked entrances, offering their tenants a great sense of security at home. A bonus for many tenants who live in these apartments are that snow removal, grounds keeping and garbage disposal/recycling are included in the rent, making it easier to remain independent much longer.

The concept of aging in place is defined as being able to live in your own home and community safely, independently and comfortably regardless of your age, income or ability level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The housing options in Augusta, as well as many of the support services provided by community and health service agencies, provide the residents of Augusta with the opportunity to remain independent for many, many years.

Within many of these buildings and complexes, tenants join together forming their own little inner communities supporting one another, performing safety checks and forming invaluable relationships with one another. Having such a strong informal support system in the place you live is a key component of successful aging in place.

The Age-Friendly Committee is proud of the existing services available that make Augusta such a livable community, and we are working toward continuously improving the livability of our city.

Sara Grant, a resident of Augusta, is a social worker currently pursuing her master’s degree with a focus on gerontology at the University of New England. Sara is an active member of Augusta’s Age-Friendly Committee and is considered a “mover and a shaker” when it comes to advocacy, initiating new programs to benefit Augusta residents, and making our city a more livable community. This column is the third in a series of eight to highlight the Augusta Age Friendly Committee.

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