Maine’s First Affordable Housing Project Unveileved in Milbridge 

It’s the culmination of five years of planning, a six unit apartment building that will provide farmworking families like Jamie Thompson-Ostorga and her two kids a place to call home.”This is my first apartment of my own, so it just means the world to me,” she said.Her husband is a farm worker in Washington County. He’s part of the twenty five percent of people in the area who call agriculture a way of life.”At this point, he’s feeding lobster right now and he’s tired when he gets home, it’s long days, so for us to be able to live in a home, it’s just wonderful.”The Mano En Mano apartment building on Wyman Road in Milbridge is the first affordable housing project for farmworkers in the state of Maine and the country.Mano En Mano received a one million dollar federal grant from the USDA in 2008 to build the apartments for year-round resident farmworkers.”It’s really hard for those workers to make a living with all these different seasonal economies and still stay here so that their kids can go to one school and grow up in the same area the whole time,” said Ian Yaffe, Executive Director for Mano En Mano.Six families will live in this building. each of them had to go through a lengthy application process to become eligible. USDA hopes Maine will set an example for the rest of the states in the country.”This makes sense for the rural economy of Washington County because housing is needed, affordable housing and these workers families that are being supported, it’s really critical to the economic viability of Washington County so we’re actually very thrilled about this project,” said Virginia Manuel, State Director for USDA Rural Development.Those involved call it a positive first step for families to get back on their feet, but it’s not the last one.The main goal is to assist families so they can one day find a permanent home sweet home.