The sun rises behind the Capitol in Washington, early Dec. 14. Congressional leaders have unveiled a $1.7 trillion spending package Dec. 20 that includes another large round of aid to Ukraine, a nearly 10% boost in defense spending and roughly $40 billon to assist communities across the country recovering from drought, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

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On Dec. 20 congressional leaders released the FY 2023 omnibus spending bill. The bill included significant investments in affordable housing, from aid for tenants to funding for manufactured home owners like me. I am so grateful for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ leadership on the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations subcommittee and for her lifelong commitment to advocating diverse housing solutions for Mainers.

Included in the bill is  $225 million for a new grant program, Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement, or PRICE. This program will provide grants to cooperative and nonprofit manufactured housing (or mobile home) communities to address life-saving infrastructure projects and support resident-ownership purchases. There are 10 resident-owned manufactured housing communities (ROCs) in Maine, and PRICE will help increase the health and safety of homes and neighborhoods in ROCs. It will also provide an opportunity for more communities to convert to resident ownership.

I am able to age in place and live on a fixed income because I own a manufactured home in a resident-owned cooperative. PRICE will preserve manufactured homes as one of the last sources of unsubsidized affordable housing, which is crucial in the face of private equity companies buying up parks across the country. Thank you to Collins and her staff for seeing through our lived experiences how valuable PRICE will be.

Addressing the housing crisis requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. I am grateful to Collins for working across the aisle to help keep families in Maine and beyond in their homes so we can all live and thrive.

Margaret Jones

Board president, Mountainside Community Co-op