ROCKLAND — A regional housing trust is scheduled to make a presentation Monday evening, Nov. 7, to the Rockland City Council.

MidCoast Regional Housing Trust is listed on the Nov. 7 Council agenda for a presentation. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Details on the organization’s presentation have not been publicly released.

In the summer of 2021, Rockland City Councilors Sarah Austin and Nate Davis proposed the creation of an an affordable housing land trust. Under such a proposal, a private, non-profit organization separate from the city would be created. That trust would then acquire land and manage the property with the stipulation that the housing is affordable.

In February 2022, the Camden Rotary Club announced that it was partnering with a grassroots community group to form the MidCoast Regional Housing Trust.

In January the group completed a housing needs assessment in 19 towns within a half-hour commute to Rockland: from Northport to Waldoboro and Washington to the coast. The three essential findings of that assessment were:

“The average age of local residents is far higher than in most of Maine. In the near future, a smaller pool of working households will have to pay for education and other public services.

“Home health care aides and service employees earning less than $15 per hour will outnumber workers with middle-range jobs — the kind that traditionally enabled them to buy a home.

“Construction costs have risen 40 percent or more since 2019 and aren’t likely to come down soon. And the shortage of skilled labor has begun to bite hard. New homes? Builders will tell you, ‘Find me the labor and materials and I can start next week.’ Otherwise, it’ll be three years,” the report stated.

A February news release to The Courier-Gazette by Dr. Robert Wasserstrom of Camden, who belongs to Camden Rotary Club’s Economic and Workforce Development Committee, stated that most housing trusts share a few core principles. Houses are bought or donated and then sold at below-market rates. Homeowners must meet specific income qualifications and live in them year-round.

With a few exceptions, the trusts own the land in perpetuity, even after homes are sold. Homeowners sign a 99-year land lease with covenants enabling the trusts to recover their investments and subsidies at resale. Lease terms also set how much sellers will earn when their houses change hands. Sellers usually get enough money to buy another home on the open market; the rest of the sale price is reinvested in affordable housing.

All trusts depend to some degree on private and corporate donors, but many of them have formed partnerships with local and state governments, the February release stated.