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Celebrating NeighborWorks

Penquis Celebrates NeighborWorks Week

Penquis empowers communities for success during NeighborWorks Week 

June 6, 2023 – Bangor— During NeighborWorks Week, June 3-10, Penquis C.A.P., Inc., (Penquis) and other NeighborWorks network organizations across the country celebrate the achievements of communities and how, together with NeighborWorks, they are empowering communities for success, changing and enhancing lives.  

“We are excited to celebrate our accomplishments during NeighborWorks Week,” says Kara Hay, President and CEO of Penquis. “With NeighborWorks’ support, Penquis has been able to take great strides towards addressing the current housing crisis. We are grateful for the opportunities to create new rental housing, preserve housing units, support homeowners, and counsel homebuyers.” 

Maine has been experiencing a housing crisis with insufficient affordable housing and a growing unhoused population. Penquis has worked to improve this situation by using grant funds, including $291,500 of funding from NeighborWorks America last year, to support housing and community development through a variety of approaches. Through their work in 2022, Penquis has helped 610 Mainers to purchase or maintain ownership of a house, while also creating or preserving 84 rental homes. Additionally, Penquis has provided assistance through housing-related education and counseling to 358 individuals and funded 203 home repairs. Recently, NeighborWorks America granted Penquis $310,000 to continue their work supporting housing and community development.  

“You don’t really see how much a house completes a family until you are in it,” shared Judah Isgro, a recent first-time homeowner through the help of Penquis programs. He and his family of four had been living in a small in-town apartment and found themselves feeling as though they did not have what they needed to grow in that space. The apartment, which had no lawn, was not a welcoming place for their children to play and enjoy the outdoors. While the family made the most of the apartment, Judah described feeling like they were “losing themselves” in that space and knew they needed a change. 

After connecting with Penquis through the suggestion of a coworker, Judah was soon on the path to making the family’s dream of homeownership a reality. He received financial coaching, which helped him to set goals, check his credit score, and create a budget. He also opened a Family Development Account, which matched the dollars he saved 4:1 to help the family build a down payment. With this help, Judah, his wife and two children moved their family into a home of their own.  

Individuals interested in receiving information on programs available through Penquis may visit  www.penquis.org or call 207-973-3500. 

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Funding to Support Innovative Solutions to Housing

$3.3 Million to Support Innovative 3D Printed Housing Solution 

BANGOR, Maine (January 24, 2023) – Penquis is receiving $3.3 million to support a project that may transform housing construction methods in Maine and across the nation while addressing the state’s housing crisis. 

“Our state is facing a housing crisis that will take ingenuity and creative thinking to solve. Thankfully, that’s exactly what we’re seeing in this collaborative partnership with Penquis, the University of Maine and MaineHousing. By scaling up UMaine’s pioneering BioHome3D technology for use in the greater Bangor area, we are taking a positive step forward in building more housing and in supporting our economy,” says Gov. Janet Mills. “I am proud to see our support through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and our most recent budget continue to yield progress, and I look forward to seeing how innovation like this can help us deliver safe places for Maine people to live. I thank Penquis, the University of Maine and MaineHousing for their collaboration, our congressional delegation for their work to provide funding, and the KeyBank Foundation for its generous support.” 

“New solutions are needed to address the housing affordability crisis in Maine,” says Jason Bird, director of housing development for Penquis, noting that Maine has an estimated shortage of 20,000 to 25,000 affordable rental units. “One of the greatest challenges is the cost and slow pace of housing construction. This project is investigating ways to create units more quickly and inexpensively, as well as more sustainably.” 

The project, using UMaine’s BioHome3D technology, is a collaborative effort involving Penquis, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and MaineHousing. New materials and methods developed by the University of Maine will be used to create a first-in-the-nation bio-based 3D-printed neighborhood. The neighborhood will be located in the Greater Bangor area and consist of nine homes that will provide housing for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  

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Penquis Receives Transportation Services Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26, 2024

Penquis Receives Transportation Services Grant from Maine Community Foundation

Support provided by the Maine Charity Foundation Fund

BANGOR, Maine – Penquis C.A.P., Inc. (Penquis) was awarded $5,000 from the Maine Charity Foundation Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. The grant is being used to support transportation at no cost for adults aged 60+ in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties who need rides for any purpose, including medical appointments, grocery shopping, and socialization.

According to AARP, 77% of older adults want to age in place, a practice shown to have health, emotional, and cost benefits. This can be especially difficult in rural Maine, where transportation is necessary to access services but transportation options are limited and can be costly. In Piscataquis and Penobscot counties, adults aged 60 and older account for 35.9% and 25.8% of residents, respectively, according to the Census. For many of those older adults, having accessible and affordable transportation is necessary for them to continue to live independently. Penquis Transportation Services is using the grant funds to continue its crucial support in providing transportation assistance to older adults in these counties.

“We thank the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Charity Foundation Fund for helping to support accessible transportation for older adults, including those who live in rural areas,” said Penquis Transportation Services Director Steven Richard. “Many older adults live alone, and, without affordable transportation options, they may not be able to access needed services. This fund will help in breaking down financial barriers that prevent access to transportation and, in turn, support greater access to healthcare, socialization, and other needs. Penquis Transportation’s continued reach throughout the rural service area will promote better health outcomes and help elder Mainers remain in their homes longer.”

Penquis Transportation Services is the Maine DOT Regional Transportation Provider for Penobscot and Piscataquis counties and the MaineCare Non-emergency Medical Transportation Broker for Penobscot, Piscataquis, Kennebec, and Somerset counties. Penquis’ transportation service area is primarily rural, covering nearly 7400 square miles.

For more information about transportation services provided by Penquis, visit www.penquis.org or call 207-973-3695.