Presque Isle, ME—U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP)’s administrative office and the Hope and Prosperity Resource Center to tour the current building and receive an update on plans to redevelop the facility and add supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. Senator Collins also met with staff and presented ACAP CEO Jason Parent with a U.S. flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol in recognition of ACAP’s 50th anniversary.
The Hope and Prosperity Resource Center provides assistance such as housing applications, accessing meals, and résumé building. Since opening in 2019, nearly 8,000 services to help clients reach self-sufficiency have been provided. The center is currently located on the lower level, with administrative offices located upstairs. A renovation slated to begin in March 2023 will address the need for additional affordable housing in Aroostook. The project design consists of 13 units, 3-one bedroom units, and 10 studio apartments. The space will also include a laundry center, an industrial kitchen, a redesigned Hope and Prosperity Resource Center, and staff offices.
“For half a century, ACAP has served as a trusted community resource and helped Aroostook County residents achieve greater economic independence by connecting them with services they need to thrive,” said Senator Collins. “The Hope and Prosperity Resource Center is a powerful asset that provides crucial support to lift up struggling individuals and families and help them achieve a brighter future. I look forward to the completion of this renovation project that will allow the center to expand its services, and as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advocate for funding so support ACAP.”
ACAP is one of the Community Action Programs in Maine that distributes funding through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to homeowners and renters to help them pay for heating costs. Last week, following Senator Collins’ advocacy, Congress passed a funding bill that included $1 billion in supplemental funding for LIHEAP. This will provide Maine with an estimated $8 million in additional LIHEAP funding, a roughly 20 percent increase above the state’s allotment in a typical year.
Earlier this year, Senator Collins secured $643,000 for a new mobile unit for ACAP, which will bring resources directly to the most rural and underserved communities of northern Maine. She is also a co-sponsor of the Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act, a bill that ACAP strongly supports that would help break the cycle of poverty by providing services to whole families simultaneously.