Towns need to do their part to create affordable housing

I've been busy with lots of deadlines the last few weeks, so I'm just going to do a quick note on the general topic of affordable housing.

On May 31 the Maine Sunday Telegram ran an editorial saying that homelessness is a state problem, not a local one. The editors pointed out that homeless people come to Portland because they can find services and low-income rental housing there. They argued that the state should step in and help pay for homeless shelters, not leave it up to the municipalities.

I agree the state should help fund homeless shelters, but- the solution also lies in creating more affordable housing units, and that can only happen at the local level. Houses have to go somewhere! And not eve​​ryone can live in a house that looks like this one, either (not everyone wants to, for that matter.) Some people need smaller apartments that are located where they can walk to services, and that don't cost an arm and a leg to heat.

So I wrote a reply to the MST editorial, basically saying that towns also need to do their part, and they published it on June 7. You can find it here.

Every town has people who aren't making it on their minimum wage jobs, or their social security payment, both of which have risen far more slowly than the cost of housing over the last several decades. So every town needs to do its part to help out.

Anne B. Gass

For over 30 years I've advocated for and supported efforts to create housing that ordinary people can afford, whether they're buying their first home or renting. I think housing is a basic human right; without a safe place to call home it's pretty tough to raise a family, go to work or school, or plug into your community...




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