Lewiston developed as a manufacturer center particularly for textiles from the mid nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century. However as with other New England cities in similar circumstances the late eighties took their toll on Lewiston's economy as manufacturing declined and unemployment rates rose.
Lewiston has shifted focus to bringing new industries and small businesses to town and has seen success in to the mid nineties.
Lewiston's Consolidated Plan reflects the needs of the community. The Plan calls for the expenditure of $1,329,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds as well as an estimated $345,000 in program income. Lewiston seeks to improve and strengthen its economic base and to improve housing and living conditions for its citizens through these expenditures. Approximately 15% of Lewiston entitlement expenditures go directly to enhance the public service agencies in the community. Other programs will include Homeownership as well as rehabilitation of housing units.
The Community Development Division (CD) of the City's Development Department
has the responsibility as the lead agency. The Citizen Participation for the
Consolidated Plan relies heavily on the program beneficiaries as well as a cross
section of the community. Citizen Participation for the Consolidated Plan also
included recent planning efforts including the City's Comprehensive Plan. This
participation by a diverse group of Lewiston residents held with public meetings
throughout the community and with service providers allows for a much more
extensive and open process to gain the information needed for the Consolidated
Located in south central Maine, Lewiston has a population of 39,757 persons. With an area of 38 square miles this translates into a density of 1046 persons per square mile. From 1980-1990 the population decreased slightly (3%) from 40,481.
Lewiston's minority population is relatively small at approximately 2%. The median household income for Lewiston is $28,114 compared to the national median income of $35,939. Approximately 45% of the households in Lewiston have an income at or below 80% of median income of the City. The average weekly manufacturing wage for Lewiston in the third quarter of 1995 was approximately $385.
The area in Lewiston with the highest proportion of low income persons is
characterized by a high density ratio (multi-family structures). Lewiston
residents have less formal education than the state average. 66% are high
school graduates and 10% have attained a bachelor degree. State wide averages
are 80% and 20% respectively.
43% of the households in Lewiston are owner occupied. Of 17, 118 units in Lewiston approximately 45% are single family detached and approximately 30% are in buildings of 2-4 units. Buildings with 10 or more units constitute 7% of the housing units in Lewiston.
Vacancy rates in rental units fluctuate between 10-12%. The intangible here is that without reduced rents by landlords the rate would be substantially higher. Default on loans play a significant role in the equation. Properties now going for $3-5000 per unit are sitting next to units that cost $10-15000 per units, this does not allow for a level playing field. Housing stock in Lewiston is some of the oldest in the state and has shown substantial deterioration. Despite ongoing efforts to "prune the tree" by selective demolition vacancy rates and vacant buildings remain a problem area.
Lewiston's Public Housing needs are reflective of the economy and population of Lewiston. A high demand for affordable rents along with a need for elderly houses.
There are 14 Public Housing Complexes within the city of Lewiston with a total of 447 units ( 133-eff, 156- 1BR, 59-2BR, 67-3BR, 30-4BR, and 2-5 BR.) Total vacancy for others is 8 units (3-EFFIC, 1-3BR, 1-3BR, 3-7BR.)
Lewiston Housing Authority also allocates 15-1BR elderly units in Lisbon, ME. More than 23% of Lewiston 8,240 renter household receive a form of subsidy (State or Federal). There is awaiting list of over 380 applicants for Lewiston Public Housing and subsidy programs. This constitutes a 2 to 4 year wait. Further as many as 750 units of subsidized housing in the private market (eg. Moderate Rehab, Substantial Rehab) may be lost by the year 2000. Couple that with Auburn's number of over 600 units lost and we can see a crisis situation on the horizon.
Real Estate taxes, operational costs, and utility rates all lend to the creation of barriers to affordable housing. While the city further attempts to keep taxes down many costs are not under local control (e.g. federal&state mandates). On going efforts in the economic development area as well as new business to Lewiston may help ameliorate some of the barriers. Further, Lewiston has taken a pro active stance on affordable housing and is flexible with regard to zoning and land use issues involved with providing affordable units.
Reports of ethnic/social lifestyles housing discrimination in Lewiston is minimal. Pine Tree Legal Assistance Corporation is a nonprofit advocacy group that handles claims of housing discrimination. Pine Tree also provides education of Fair Housing rights and monitor discrimination complaints.
Ninety Percent (90%) of the pre-1946 housing stock and eighty percent (80%) of the pre-1960 housing stock contains lead based paint. These figures as represented in census tracts 201,202,203 &,204 reflect an even higher rate of 97%. The City of Lewiston Childhood Lead Poison Prevention Program (CLPP) has found 30% of all children tested under age six (6) have elevated blood levels. Efforts are on going to educate renters in ways to mitigate lead paint problems absent total removal.
Lewiston's General Assistance Office is the main contact point for homeless persons. Lewiston's homeless population shelter records show the homeless population are primarily persons with mental illness, abused women, person with chemical dependability, and homeless youth. Of the 284 clients at the Abused Women Advocacy Shelter (AWAP) 67 were Lewiston residents. Fellowship House in Lewiston provides 3 emergency shelter beds and 12 medical beds.
Tri County Mental Health presents a number of programs for persons with mental illness. With the trend toward community service providers and independent living, Lewiston can expect to see a significant increase in the number of persons with mental illness as the state downsizes its mental health facilities and services
Runaway youths are serviced by a number of facilities in the community. One shelter assisted over 30 youths in 1994. Trends have shown that this population is growing and may have a significant impact on the community in the future.
Housing problems in Census Tracts 201,202,203, & 204 are not unique but a microcosm of the entire City. Lower income renters are stuck in the revolving door of unsafe housing, lack of transportation, lack of education and job training. This is a volatile mix and has proven to be the greatest barrier to that move up the socioeconomic ladder. The majority of the multi-unit housing stock in Lewiston was built prior to 1940. This same stock provides shelter for the highest proportion of very low and low income people.
It is estimated that approximately 75 properties (12,800 units) do not meet energy conservation standards and/or have heating systems that are in-efficient. Increased energy conservation measures would reduce operational cost (oil, gas, electricity, etc.), have a positive impact on air quality and will help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. Costs for energy conservation ranges from $100 to $10,000 per unit with a total cost of $32,000 city wide.
There are approximately 12,000 developed properties in the City of Lewiston with 17,118 housing units. In order to ensure the adequate maintenance of these properties to minimum standards the City of Lewiston Code Enforcement Division enforces an adopted version of the BOCA National Property Maintenance Code along with a number of other codes and ordinances regarding land use, life safety, and other provisions. Enforcement activities directed toward development properties in concert with community oriented policing, housing and commercial rehabilitation programs work to stabilize neighborhoods and to create a healthy living environment. The Code Enforcement Budget for fiscal year 1995-1996 is approximately $300,000(i.e.$57,609 of which is CDBG funded).
Another problem is reflected in this number of vacant unhabitable buildings within the community. While vacant structures themselves do not cause fires, the close proximity and the "balloon" type construction of buildings reflects the fact that 85% of the City's building fire losses occur in the Target Area.
The City of Lewiston has in the past four years seen significant fire loss in these areas and as the number of vacant buildings increases, that trend will continue. Lack of homeownership opportunities for low income persons has been significant factor in the deterioration of those neighborhoods. The census data is significant when identifying the housing problems in the four census tracts. Seventy-two (72%) of the structures in these census tracts were built before 1939.
As stated before, most of these housing units were built for the early mill worker families and most are multi- unit structures of two to five stories.
The State Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation provides services to individuals with mental illness and mental retardation. With the downsizing of the state bureaucracy comes the reality that many of these person will need shelter. By way of a consent decree over six years ago the state was to provide local based independent living units with limited services attached. To date this has not happened and clients are being put out of institutionalized settings to fend for themselves. The larger cities in Maine including Lewiston will feel the brunt of the policy because, whether de facto or de jure, historically clients have gravitated to larger communities. This policy will continue to have an impact on Lewiston into the 21st century.
Lewiston has significantly felt the impact of the economic decline of the late eighties. Moreover the age of the housing stock combined with the age of this infrastructure (roads, water delivery system, storm and sewer lines) have a significant influence on the neighborhoods. The city is proactive in addressing these issues through it Capital Improvement Program (CIP). However, many projects can't be undertaken because of the finite dollars that are available. This problem is not unique to Lewiston but evident in many older communities in the northeast corridor.
The city recognizes the needs and funds many of them through both the CIP and with CD dollars. Service needs include more child care and child development services, senior centers, teen centers and added cultural oriented activities.
The Consolidated Plan identifies areas in developing strategies for the use of limited resources to address low- moderate income citizen housing problems.
The Consolidated Plan identifies several areas of non-housing CD investing opportunities
Lewiston has focused on the creation of job opportunities and substantial economic development through small business opportunities. Along with training and service coordination as well as the ongoing efforts re: affordable housing issues, Lewiston has a viable strategy to fight existing poverty.
Lewiston has created partnerships with several nonprofit and for
profit organizations to enhance the effects of housing and economic development.
The Maine State Housing Authority, the Lewiston Housing Authority, Trinity
Ministry, and Community Concepts Inc. have all played an important role in
providing low income housing development in Lewiston.
The following projects are proposed for funding the Federal Community Development Block Grant Program. Lewiston recently received $1,329,000 this year for use with prior year funds and program income.
* Contingency for the program is $5113
The majority of Program funding is provided in census tracts 201 through 204.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).
MAP 6 depicts points of interest, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point.
Mr. Jim Andrews
Community Development Director