Safe and reliable housing is the foundation on which communities and economic activity grow. But for too many Mainers today – especially seniors and young workers – good housing is often out of reach, if not unavailable at all, because of increasing rents, stagnating wages, or the simple fact that our housing stock is too old. I believe every Mainer should have access to safe and affordable housing. That’s why as governor I will:
- Put the voter-approved senior housing bond to work. After the legislature passed a $15 million bond to fund the construction of senior housing, and nearly 70 percent of voters supported the measure through a public referendum, it has been stonewalled by the current administration. I will not only release these funds, but make sure their potential is maximized.
- Grow better paying jobs-and help build more homes at the same time. My plans for the economy and education include more job training for construction and the trades that will train the workforce needed to build new housing stocks. These are also good-paying jobs that will help ensure more Maine workers and their families have the money in their pockets they need to afford housing – a win-win for Maine people.
- Keeping kids safe. No Maine child should have to live in unsafe conditions, but far too many do because of our old housing stock. Lead remediation programs are available – but we need to do more. That’s why I will work with medical providers and state agencies to expand screening among Maine children.
- Preserve the Housing Opportunities for Maine (HOME) fund. Over the past decade, tax revenues collected for the HOME fund, which MaineHousing uses to target specific affordable housing needs, has been siphoned away for non-housing related issues. As governor, I will protect these funds, making sure they are used for their intended purpose.
- Provide technical assistance for local issues. For many communities in Maine, the lack of safe and affordable housing stems from the absence of development and investment while others face similar issues due to the scale and pace of development. The governor’s office will bring together a diverse range of municipalities facing similar issues to help share successful practices and foster local solutions.