Waiting list greets Topsham affordable apartments

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TOPSHAM — Families are moving into a new affordable housing development at 37 Pleasant St.

The eight-unit Pleasant Woods apartment complex is owned and operated by the Topsham Housing Authority. A $500,000 grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston helped fund the $1.2 million project on what had been 2.7-acre vacant property, according to John Hodge, executive director of the Brunswick and Topsham Housing Authorities.

Topsham Housing also received another $500,000 subsidized low-interest loan, Hodge said in an interview June 29.

Monthly rents, which include all utilities, range from about $900 for a two-bedroom apartment of about 800 square feet, to about $1,100 for a three-bedroom unit of about 1,000 square feet.

“It’s for working families,” Hodge said, noting that all the units have been rented out, with about a dozen people on a waiting list.

The project is intended to meet an increasing demand for affordable housing in the area.

“This is a drop in the bucket of what’s needed,” Hodge said. “If you look at the tight housing market right now, many working families can’t afford a decent rent, and so building affordable housing is always going to be needed for that reason.”

The project “increases the options for those families that struggle to find a decent place to live,” he added.

The majority of renters are Topsham residents who want to keep their children in School Administrative District 75, Hodge said. Two units, the only ones that are subsidized, will house previously homeless families.

The colonial-style structure, built with one section resembling a barn, was intended to fit in with the character of the surrounding neighborhood.

Applications for the waiting list can be made by calling Brunswick and Topsham Housing Authorities at 725-8711. The Topsham authority also operates a Main Street property with three units, and a Green Street building with four.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Leo Hill, left, is construction manager, and John Hodge is executive director of the Brunswick and Topsham Housing Authorities, which have opened Pleasant Woods, an eight-unit affordable housing complex in Topsham.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.