On Jan. 30, the Sun Journal ran an article about the Maine Housing proposal to grant $1.4 million to open a warming shelter that would permit homeless residents to get warm.

Although this proposal seems a step in the right direction, the state has a long way to go to adequately address Maine’s housing crisis. Maine’s minimum wage just increased to $14.15 an hour, but according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Mainer working full-time (40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year) would need to earn $24 an hour to afford fair market rent for a two-bedroom rental home, without paying more than 30% of their income.

There are over 400,000 poor and low-income people in Maine. Lack of affordable housing is only one of many interlocking injustices they face. Others include inadequate wages, skyrocketing health care costs and medical debt, unaffordable and even unavailable child care, and insufficient education and job training programs.

We need sound public policies to address all these issues, and that is why the Maine Poor People’s Campaign will hold a State House assembly in Augusta on March 2. There we will present to the Legislature and the governor the policies we demand to lift hundreds of thousands of Mainers out of poverty.

We invite every individual and organization that shares our goal of racial, social and economic justice for all to join us that day as we come together to say loudly and clearly, “Fight poverty, not the poor.”

Christopher Foss, Lewiston

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