In this July 13, 2021, file photo, Gov. Janet Mills speaks to reporters in the Maine State House in Augusta. Credit: David Sharp / AP

Maine will use $3.5 million in federal money to provide loans to help older residents pay property taxes, Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday.

Mills, a Democrat, said the loans will cover annual property tax bills for some residents who are unable to pay them and are age 65 and older or are permanently disabled. The loans would have to be repaid once the property is sold or becomes part of an estate, Mills’ office said.

The tax deferral program will make sure vulnerable residents are able to stay in their homes while also providing property taxes to cities and towns, Mills said. Older residents and people with disabilities “deserve to live and age in the comfort of their homes without worrying they’ll lose them because they can’t afford the property taxes,” the governor said.

The program will be funded with money from the American Rescue Plan. It’s modeled after a similar program that existed in the 1990s, Mills’ office said.