Thanks to a partnership between Aroostook County Action Program and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, a couple from Crystal have a new mobile home to replace their former residence which was beyond repair.
A house warming event, attended by ACAP officials, community leaders and other partners involved in the project, was held onsite last week at the new home of Roger and Shirley Smith in the southern Aroostook County town. The celebration marked the culmination of a project two years in the making that was delayed, in part, because of the pandemic and related supply chain challenges.
“We are so thankful that we learned about this program and the other assistance ACAP provides as we truly could not have made it much longer in our old home,” said Shirley Smith. “We recently had to take in our grandson to live with us, and I feel so much better about having him live in the new mobile home. For the first time in many years, we will not have to worry that our home will not make it through another winter,” said Smith.
The Smiths originally reached out to ACAP for assistance with a roof replacement. Upon inspection of the home, it was determined the structure unfortunately did not meet the standards for roof replacement as it had too many other deficiencies.
“We had a conversation of what other programs could they possibly benefit from at ACAP. I explained to them how the mobile home replacement program works,” said Shannon Hill, ACAP coordinator of energy and housing programs.
Through its partnership with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, ACAP was able to secure $30,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. The Smiths worked with their local lender, County Federal Credit Union, who after learning more about the first-time project for their institution, preapproved the couple for a loan to pay the remainder.
“COVID-19 played a role in slowing the process down by affecting the availability of an appraiser, then a lawyer, and materials needed to set up the home. Once everything fell in line, it was fall/winter and not ideal for pouring a foundation,” said Hill. “The Smiths actually had to make house payments all winter while still in the old house until spring came. Once the snow was gone and we could get machinery on the ground, demolition of the old home was completed and the foundation was poured for the new one pretty much in the exact same spot.”
The Crystal home replacement project is the latest in line of similar projects ACAP has completed County-wide. In recent years, the agency has worked with both Maine DECD and MaineHousing to complete similar projects in Limestone, Littleton and Soldier Pond.