USDA Rural Development Administrator for Housing and Community Programs Tammye Trevino visited Maine to participate in events highlighting a rural police department, new homeowners, and to attend a high-level forum “Housing in America: Innovative Solutions to Address the Needs of Tomorrow” organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission in Partnership with the Jack Kemp Foundation.
Administrator Trevino and I met with Southwest Harbor Town Manager Donald LaGrange and Southwest Harbor Police Chief David Chapais for a tour and discussion of how $380,000 in USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan funds has impacted the department and its staff. Administrator Trevino saw first-hand the new interview/training room, work stations created for each employee, enlarged space for dispatch staff, and how the usable space inside the building has quadrupled in size, assisting the department to serve its community. The police station serves a population of 2,000 and consists of four full-time police officers, five reserve police officers, four full-time dispatchers, and five part-time dispatchers.
Later we met with John Barnes and Jennifer Harry, proud new homeowners in the picturesque coastal Maine community of Bar Harbor. They welcomed the Administrator and partners into their home to share how much they love living there.
USDA Rural Development Administrator Trevino said, “USDA Rural Development is a key leader in providing homeownership opportunities in rural areas through its Single-Family Housing Guaranteed and Direct Programs. Our agency is helping more homeowners than ever to build foundations for stronger, brighter futures for their families while strengthening local communities. Congratulations to John and Jennifer for their accomplishment in homeownership."
The Administrator presented the couple with a framed picture of their new home and a flowering hanging plant for their house. Jennifer, who is from Philadelphia originally, vacationed in Maine for many years and loved it so much she decided to stay. Her first job was on a lobster boat. John (originally from Vermont) and Jennifer met on Mount Desert Island then relocated to upstate New York so that John could go to school. As soon as he finished his education the couple came back to the area they loved so much- Bar Harbor- and found the home of their dreams- affordably! Both are employed locally. They are finally “home” and proud to be homeowners in Bar Harbor at long last.
One in every five Maine homeowners utilized USDA Rural Development’s Housing Programs
last year to own a home.