Nestled within an archipelago in Penobscot Bay, Stonington Harbor is a bustling working waterfront at the southern end of the island of Deer Isle. The towns of Stonington and Deer Isle share an island and a public school system, deep family ties, a culture rooted in commercial fishing and art, and, like much of the nation, a dire housing crisis. In these towns there are simply not enough places for working people to live. Over twenty years ago, a small group of passionate Islanders began brainstorming and researching one solution to the housing problem. In 2020 that group, Island Workforce Housing, broke ground on the construction of five homes, each containing two year-round rentals. This is just one solution to a monumental issue facing this island and other communities in Maine and around the country.
In this episode, we'll learn about some of the history behind this community's housing crisis and what, specifically, is at risk if there are no long-lasting solutions for year-round housing. And we’ll learn about two solutions that these communities are exploring: building year-round rental homes, and potentially regulating short-term rentals.
This episode was written and produced Galen Koch and assistant producer Olivia Jolley for the Island Institute. Nicole Wolf takes the photographs that accompany this episode. From the Sea Up’s Senior Editor is Isaac Kestenbaum. Thanks to Kathleen Billings, Linda Nelson, and the town of Stonington for participation in this episode. Thanks to Island Workforce Housing, specifically Henry Teverow, Maggie Kirsch, and Megan Dewey Wood. Special thanks to Anna and Ryan Woosley and their family for welcoming us into their home. This podcast is made possible by the Fund for Maine Islands and a partnership between the Island Institute, College of the Atlantic, Maine Sea Grant, and The First Coast.
For more information about ongoing work in the Town of Stonington to address the housing crisis, visit: https://www.stoningtonmaine.org/gov/economic-development.php