As with many New England buildings, Loring House has a fascinating history. Established in the early 1800s on Portland Street by the City of Portland, it began as an Alms House to serve the needs of the city’s poor, elderly, and mentally disabled. Later in 1870, it was converted into a hospital known as the “Greely Hospital” for the city’s low-income population.
Between 1902 and 1904, Greely Hospital moved from its original location on Portland Street and into the new, industrial building that is Loring House today. In the early 1980's, the growing hospital moved again into a new facility, and Loring House eventually evolved into a housing community for people living with disabilities and 62+ years of age. Today, it has finally received the renovation deserved by tenants through a RAD conversion project.
Susan Maloney has been living at Loring House for eight years. Prior to moving to Loring House and Maine, she lived in Kansas with her husband until he passed away.
After moving to Maine, Susan applied for assistance from the Portland Housing Authority and soon after learned about a vacancy at Loring House.
"I told her 'If you like it, tell them I’ll take it,' and I have been living here ever since."
A widow, Susan has four children (three girls and one boy) and several grandchildren. She has a lengthy history working at Goodwill and as a day services coordinator.
One of the things Susan likes about living in Loring House is the location of her apartment. It's very convenient to grocery shopping and pharmacies with direct access to public transportation.
Susan has always liked the Loring House property management staff and noted that any requests for repairs were always addressed. However, there was a slow decline in the condition of the property and residents would often notice those conditions more upon having visitors. The property was largely outdated—everything from hallway rugs to apartment appliances.
Over the course of the RAD renovation, Susan never felt much disruption from the renovations. The tenant relocation plan consisted of tenants moving from their unit into a vacant unit for one week while their unit was renovated, and then they moved right back in. While some rumblings from other tenants occasionally arose, Susan at least found that the inconvenience was nothing major.
She often liked to watch what was going on with the renovations, and moving to a vacant unit felt like she was camping out. She was impressed that she could move back to her unit in the one-week timeline.
After the renovations, Susan noticed the changes as soon as she moved back into her apartment. The lighting was better and the fresh paint and rugs made the units feel bigger and brighter. Before the conversion project took place, the refrigerators were very small, but each unit was installed with new appliances during the process.
Lighting has significantly improved under the renovation throughout the whole building. The building now also has a computer lab, updated laundry room, and exercise room. Common areas are brighter—more open and inviting—and the units feel bigger.
Just about everything in the building is new, including:
- All windows
- Individual apartment appliances and doors
- Wall paint
- Hardwood flooring
- Common area furniture
- A Telemed Room for a visiting nurse to use for visits with residents
Upon learning that things would be changing with the launch of the conversion program, Susan did not feel terribly concerned about the changes. Through tenant notification, the process of the conversion was thoroughly described to everyone. Not only that, but tenants were offered the opportunity to complete a survey in which they could share any changes they might like to see resulting from the conversion.
Susan shared she was hoping for brighter lighting in her unit and the property, and after the conversion that is what she got.
"Moving into the new units felt just like moving into a newly built home - fresh and brighter”