SMCC partners with Quality Housing Coalition to add housing resources for students

Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) is proud to announce a partnership with the Quality Housing Coalition (QHC) to support Project HOME, an initiative to connect those students facing housing challenges with landlords and homeowners, providing a supportive bond between all parties.

SMCC Interim Dean of Students Jason Saucier said the need for assistance is now.

“We’ve had almost 200 students indicate they would struggle with housing sometime during the 2023-24 school year,” Saucier said. “This program comes at a critical time, providing a valuable resource to our students.”

SMCC Advocacy Resource Center (ARC) Director of Social Services, Ellen Culberson, said the partnership seeks community members open to serving as landlords and host homes to SMCC students.

“SMCC has teamed up with QHC to offer our students a path to secure housing through Project HOME. This service will help connect housing seekers with landlords and home share providers who can provide a secure home,” Culberson said. “Project HOME assists landlords and home share providers by supportively managing all aspects of the tenancy related to resident duties, leasing-up and move-in details, rental assistance program navigation, and repairs or damages, giving both students and landlords a clear support system in all ways.”

QHC Executive Director Victoria Morales said partnering with SMCC to help students navigate housing challenges makes perfect sense.

“It is a major challenge for lower-income tenants, such as SMCC students, to overcome multiple obstacles in the application process,” Morales said. “It is a major challenge for lower-income tenants, such as SMCC students, to overcome multiple obstacles in the application process,” Morales said. “That is why Project HOME exists – to guarantee leases, ensure timely rent is paid, and to provide year-long 24/7 resident services support. We hope that homeowners with an extra room or two, an accessory dwelling unit, or a short-term rental will reach out to find out how to become a Project HOME partner.”

One of the QHC founding members, Brit Vitalius, is a southern Maine real estate broker dedicated to ensuring Mainers, like SMCC students, have access to housing.

“I got together with several local organizations and said, let’s figure out how we can make a difference in our community regarding housing. Project HOME was born out of that idea,” Vitalius said. “Students play a crucial role in our community, especially in a commuter community where they are local residents. They can contribute their talents and energy to the area while pursuing higher education. If they cannot attend school locally because of housing challenges and are forced to leave, it would be a loss for them and for southern Maine as a whole. We seek people who want to help those students enhance our already vibrant community by providing secure housing.”

One program participant, Liz Trice, said hosting has provided her and her family with a positive experience.

“We hosted exchange students and had a graduate student stay with us for a summer. Supporting this program has been effortless for us,” Trice shared. “We love listening to the students’ stories, trying out their cooking, and exchanging meals with them. At times, just the presence of another person living their life with our support brings us joy. Our entire family has benefited from this enriching experience, and we urge anyone who’s interested to jump in and participate.”

If you’d like to get more information on how you can support Project HOME, visit the QHC site at

If you are an SMCC student and need housing or other support services, please visit our Counseling & Support site at