Bangor Daily News, January 2024
Not all homeowners along Maine’s coast can receive federal disaster relief money while recovering from back-to-back storms that lashed the state last week. That is because the federal housing assistance that many Mainers may seek following historic flooding from Wednesday and Saturday storms only supports the repair or replacement of owner-occupied homes that serve as primary residences.
Maine, with its bustling summer tourism season, is a hotbed for second homes and also has the country’s highest share of vacant homes. People do not regularly live in more than a fifth of Maine homes, per U.S. Census data, and owner-occupancy rates are particularly low along the coastline and near recreational attractions such as ski areas and lakes.
It means seasonal, part-time or vacant residences in many coastal communities decimated by last week’s storms are ineligible for relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which also does not cover damages sustained by small businesses. But apart from insurance options or grassroots relief efforts, Maine’s second homeowners may still find hope.