Group of people with construction helmets on.
The CVS Health team at the Winter Landing construction site. (Photo courtesy of CVS Health)

An $8.4 million investment from CVS Health will yield 52 affordable housing units for older adults in Portland, ME. 

The Woonsocket, RI-based company is working with the Community Housing of Maine, the Portland Housing Authority and Boston Financial to repurpose a building formerly owned by Northern Light Mercy Hospital that was sold in February 2020. The complex will be called Winter Landing.

“The transformation of this historical hospital underscores our commitment to investing in the revitalization of communities and helping seniors in need,” New England Chief Medicare Officer for Aetna Dan Dyer said Tuesday in a statement

Aetna became part of CVS Health in 2018.

“Through the construction of Winter Landing, we’re providing members of Portland’s aging population with a safe and affordable housing option that has been designed to serve their unique needs,” Dyer said. 

According to the US Census Bureau, Maine has one of the highest percentages of older adults (21.1%) in the United States, and according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 33% of low-income renters in Maine are senior households at or below the poverty guidelines or 30% of the area median income. Recent reports indicate that the largest housing shortage in the state of Maine is in Portland, and its residents often are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, according to CVS Health.

Winter Landing will set aside 15 units for “long-term stayers,” residents of the city’s homeless shelters who have remained homeless for more than 180 days in a calendar year. The idea, according to CVS Health, is to provide long-term support and an end to homelessness in Portland.

A resident service coordinator will be onsite to provide services to all residents, and additional support services will be provided by local community agencies to long-term stayers population to try to ensure their success at the housing. Previous research has shown that service coordinators can reduce hospital admissions and improve resident resilience, among other benefits.

“We are thrilled to partner with CVS Health to create much needed affordable housing and to end homelessness for a significant number of people,” Executive Director of Community Housing of Maine said. “Permanent supportive housing works, and in this case, people will be able to live right in the heart of the community close to everything they need.”

The investment comes as CVS Health continues to position itself as a “health solutions company … wherever and whenever people need us.”