Over a century ago, more than 300 Maine islands had year-round communitites. Fishermen, lobstermen, farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, carpenters, artists, and others all contributed to the unique, close-knit lifestyle that exemplifies coastal Maine. But today, only 14 islands can claim year-round communities, and with real estate prices continuing to climb, that number may dwindle even more.
The continued existence of Monhegan's community is threatened by this lack of affordable year-round housing. Housing costs have more than doubled in the past five years, and the men and women who have lived and worked year-round on Monhegan are finding it very difficult to rent housing, much less afford to buy their own home. They want their children to grow up and go to school here and become apart of this community-but increasingly, they can't afford to stay, and so they must go elsewhere. Without a working community, the quality of life for year-round and summer residents and for visitors would be diminished.
MISCA, like Monhegan Associates (the conserving group whose aim is preserving the Island's wild lands), is a land trust. Our policy is to buy existing homes to solve the housing problem rather then requesting additional land for development.
Island Communities Struggling to Survive
Conserving the natural beauty of Monhegan is a priority for Islanders and visitors alike. In the face of skyrocketing real estate prices, the Monhegan Island Sustainable Community Association-MISCA- was formed to provide affordable housing without taking land out of conservation.
MISCA will accomplish this mission by purchasing existing residential property and selling the homes and outbuildings to year-round residents at considerably less than the market value. MISCA will retain ownership of the land
Once the property is in the pool of MISCA'S land trust, it will be available to resident families in perpetuity. The amount of appreciation on the house will be limited by a covenant in the deed. Thus, when ownership of a house turns over, the selling price will be far less than what the market value would have been-ensuring that future generations can afford to live on Monhegan year-round.