BATH, Maine(NEWS CENTER) -- For nearly 100 years, elderly people in the Bath area have had had a comfortable place to live, regardless of their ability to pay.

The Plant Home was donated in 1917 by Thomas Plant, a native of Bath, as a home for the elderly. Plant rose from humble beginnings as a shoe shop worker in Maine nto eventually own his own show factory in Massachusetts.

His reason for donating the home is now written on a wall of the building. "It is my sincere belief that those who have lived honest, industrious lives and are without means or friends to take care of them have earned the right to be cared for."

The Plant Home has 37 residents. Those who can afford to pay do so, but the home's endowment takes care of those who can't afford it. The home does not accept Medicaid payment, because Medicaid requires residents be in two-person rooms, not the single rooms provided in the Plant Home.

On Monday, Rep. Chellie Pingree joined the federal Rural Development agency to announce a $10 million loan that will let the Plant Home double its size. The addition will accommodate 45 more people. Executive Director Don Capoldo
said the expansion will ensure the home's mission continues: "So many people in this city know with absolute certainty that if you get old and sick and run out of money the Plant home will be there for you."

The federal financing will make the project more affordable for the home, by using a 40-year payback period and providing a loan guarantee that will reduce interest costs for other financing. Capoldo told NEWS CENTER that rising costs have started to eat into their endowment, which is used to pay for low income residents.

The expansion, he says, will provide more rooms for self-paying residents, which, in turn, will generate more revenue for the home. He says this should allow the endowment to be used solely to cover the cost of low income residents.

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