It’s way past time to do something substantive about homelessness in Maine. The HOME Act, L.D. 1710, before the Legislature right now, would target relief to those with the greatest need — extremely low-income folks, 52% of whom are paying more than half their incomes for housing. The HOME Act will fill the gap left by the federal voucher system’s years-long waitlist of more than 15,000 households.

Incomes in Maine have simply not kept pace with soaring housing costs that are largely due to short supply. Building initiatives won’t solve the immediate needs of the houseless.

The state is in a better position to manage this initiative, as cities and towns often lack capacity or expertise. Participants could remain in the community of their choice.

Stable, affordable housing makes it possible to achieve stability in employment, gives children a chance to develop friendships and skills through consistent school attendance, and allows a family to begin to psychologically invest in their community in positive ways. According to Matthew Desmond, Yale sociologist and Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Evicted,” “… a good home can serve as the sturdiest of footholds. When people have a place to live, they become better parents, workers and citizens.”

Again, according to Desmond, “Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.”

Please contact your state senator and representative and ask them to support the HOME Act, L.D. 1710, if you’d like the state to do more for those most in need right now. Passing L.D. 1710 will make all of our communities stronger.


Mary Ann Larson


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