John Egan of the Genesis Fund discusses affordable housing with Bowdoinham residents on Oct. 26. Maria Skillings / Times Record

Bowdoinham is looking for ways to combat a housing crisis that is driving away young professionals, young families and senior citizens.

At an Oct. 26 meeting, the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative orchestrated a sit-down with affordable housing developer John Egan of the Genesis Fund, housing planner Michael Martone, the Bowdoinham Comprehensive Planning Board and community members to discuss the town’s housing needs and find ways to encourage development.

As a senior struggling to take care of her four-bedroom farmhouse, Peggy Christian said she wants to downsize to a two-bedroom home, but there is “nothing for sale.” Christian said her current home is “too much to take care of,” but she doesn’t want to leave Bowdoinham.

Housing Authority member Tom Cary attributes the lack of housing to out-of-staters who once rented in Maine during the summer months and have now snatched up “a great deal of properties.”

In 2020, Maine gained 15,473 people from domestic migration, according to a previous article in the Portland Press Herald.

Assistant Broker Cara Taggersell said when she moved to Bowdoinham seven years ago, she and her partner fixed up an old farmhouse, which she said is an attractive option for young couples. However, since the pandemic, even fixer-uppers are scarce.


According to, housing availability in Bowdoinham is significantly lower compared to neighboring towns. In Bowdoinham, there are six houses listed, including two that have yet to be built. Brunswick has 62 available listings, Topsham has 16 and Richmond has 15.

The listings in Bowdoinham range from $125,000-$650,000, none of which are designed to accommodate a solo owner.

Resident Pam Buffington noted the lack of one-bedroom apartments available for young singles, which she said could possibly discourage new teachers from working in their school district. She said building co-housing units with shared resources could be a solution, and she believes it would fit the well-established community culture of “supporting one another.”

Piggybacking off of Buffington, resident David Asmussen proposed “incentivizing density downtown” to draw a younger population and new businesses.

Overall, locals said they wanted more duplexes, housing for farm workers on-site at the farms, housing near the highway, affordable senior housing, cluster housing, more commercial spaces downtown, co-housing units, cul-de-sac developments, dividing large plots of land into smaller ones and revamped septic rules.

Bowdoinham Director of Planning and Development Jennifer Curtis acknowledged, “Anything you have described could happen.” However, Curtis said when the town does develop its comprehensive housing plan, it will have to factor in the required setbacks for new septic systems to wetlands.

Discussions on ways to implement the new ideas will take place after the holidays.

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