PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government is providing more than $4.5 million to help with affordable housing in southern Maine, where housing shortages can be a problem.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing the money to Cumberland County and the city of Portland, which is the largest city in the state. Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the funds will "help connect Cumberland County's most vulnerable citizens with additional resources and promote their health, independence and overall wellbeing."

Most of the money is coming in the form of HUD Community Development Block Grants. Those grants are designed to provide housing and expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents.

Some of the Portland grant money is through the HOME program, which also seeks to expand affordable housing availability.

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