Western Washington County is known for its rugged coastline, lobster boats, wild blueberry barrens, farms, and small-town living. As with any small town, Downeast communities have their share of older homes in need of repair. This summer, the Mission’s Housing Rehabilitation program returns to normal, full operations.
It couldn’t be better timing for Downeast. Since 2003, the program has ensured youth, families, and seniors have warm, safe homes. Improvements vary from installing storm windows to rebuilding rooftops. However, the pandemic forced the program to make some modifications for 2020 and 2021. To protect volunteers and Downeast residents, the Mission supplied materials to locals who could manage their own home repairs. Despite the adaptation, the program maintained a high level of impact. In 2021, the Mission repaired 11 homes across 10 Washington County towns.
For 2022, the aim is to return to a higher number of repaired homes. Housing Rehabilitation Manager Scott Shaw said, “We’re thinking positive this year. We plan to will host volunteer groups on our Cherryfield campus as we did pre-pandemic.”
Each year, more than 150 volunteers from Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine descend onto the Downeast campus in Cherryfield. Their mission? Rehabilitate and refurbish 14 to 20 homes. ” The whole summer is almost already booked with a dozen groups of volunteers. We’ll have another group of 100 people from Ohio alone,” Scott said. “A group that size takes over the town!”
The program will host some volunteers at Mission Downeast’s Weald Bethel Community Center, which itself was renovated, in part, to welcome such groups. Once Mission volunteers repair homes, owners are eligible for additional state and federal weatherization programs through our partnership with Downeast Community Partners and a Mission-based grant made by a generous foundation.
Homeowners wishing to participate in the program can still apply for housing repair until April 20, 2022. Paper applications are available at Maine Seacoast Mission Downeast in Cherryfield and in town offices from Jonesboro to Gouldsboro.