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The Cost of Developing Public Housing is Down 24% from a Year Ago

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

It has been about a year since all the changes at the Maine State Housing Authority and there are some interesting results. A year after claiming waste in the development of public housing projects, a Maine State Housing Authority board member says those costs are down by 24 %.

The average development costs of new housing, rehabilitated buildings and historic structures will drop from $197,000 per unit this year to $150,000 per unit for projects to be approved next year.  A board member said the savings in housing costs were achieved by eliminating unnecessary ‘‘green’’ regulations, and rewarding developers who come up with their own money-saving plans.

But not everyone is completely comfortable with that approach.  The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition has generally supported the authority’s efforts to encourage lower-cost affordable housing projects. But there needs to be happy medium. There are some concerns the housing authority could be making lower, per-unit costs the top priority at the expense of awarding affordable housing tax credits to projects that provide housing that’s suitable for families and convenient to jobs.

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