With the housing crisis forcing thousands of Mainers into foreclosure, there is no time more important than now to make affordable housing available to locals who have fallen on hard times.

Throughout Maine, there is a shortage of affordable housing. According to federal data, the average single parent renting in Lewiston must work 62 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, to afford an apartment at fair market value.

The Housing Opportunities for Maine Fund is working hard to combat that problem by creating affordable housing opportunities in Maine. The fund even generates money for the state by leveraging millions in federal funding.

With the recent passage of LD 262, the HOME Fund is under attack. Its abilities to help provide affordable housing and to generate funds are being sacrificed to pay for a historic preservation tax credit that will not respond to the housing crisis as effectively as the HOME Fund.

Maine is already starving for affordable housing. In Lewiston, shelters are at capacity and tenants move frequently in search of affordable rents. Raids to the HOME Fund will make things even worse.

We must speak out against such legislation and work to protect vital programs such as the HOME Fund to ensure affordable housing opportunities for Mainers.

HOME Fund money should be directed toward the true mission of creating housing opportunities for low- to middle-income Mainers.

Historic developers should be seeking their tax credits from the general fund.

Josh Gagne, Lewiston

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