Assets and Opportunity Network 2014 Scorecard
Maine received a "C" in the Housing & Homeownership category, ranking 4th worst in the nation in foreclosure rate with the 4th highest in homeownership rate. Though Maine's homeownership rate is high, many of those homes are substandard. Due to Maine's aging housing stock, there are a large number of homes with outdated heating systems, inadequate plumbing and/or electrical systems, poor insulation, and structural decay. These deficiencies increase home energy and maintenance costs, leaving little left for savings and contributing to the high percentage of residents classified as liquid asset poor. At the same time, the Weatherization and Home Repair programs are currently operating below 2008 funding levels.
Rising energy costs are increasing the financial burden on families. Heating oil prices are up 4%, propane prices are up 23% and kerosene prices have increased 3% from last year.
Another major finding of the report shows that 47% of Maine residents have almost no savings to fall back on if a job loss, medical crisis or other emergency results in the loss of stable income. These residents are defined as "liquid asset poor," lacking adequate savings to cover basic expenses for just three months without steady income. Maine has lost a large number of higher-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry, with many replaced by low-paying service jobs. With the average annual pay significantly lower than the national average, many Maine residents have difficulty meeting basic needs.
The data from the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard makes it clear that much work still needs to be done to help more Maine families succeed. Penquis has experience delivering asset development programs, including homebuyer education and home ownership programs; microenterprise development services; and the Family Development Account Program. We see the benefits of these programs first hand. Programs like these have enabled hundreds of low-income individuals and families across the state to save to buy a home, pay for education or start or expand a small business.
Thank you for giving this report your consideration.
To access Maine's profile, click here.
To read online an analysis of key findings from the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, click here.
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