Maine is in the midst of a housing crisis that’s not going to fix itself.

Extremely low-income households like mine face emergencies every day. Housing costs have outpaced income for far too long.

Voucher programs like Section 8 have a years-long waitlist of over 15,000 households. Those waitlists are much longer for those without children. Once someone receives their long-awaited voucher, good luck finding a landlord to accept it.

The good news? LD 1710, the HOME Act, would provide solutions for folks at the greatest risk of eviction and homelessness. It proposes a new statewide voucher system and would curb voucher discrimination.

In 2016, I was forced out of my home and lived in my car for 10 days. My life was thrown into chaos. Being unhoused and forgotten by society was a gut punch, and nothing eased the shame and heartbreak I felt. After receiving my monthly disability funds, I rented a motel room where I lived for over four years. I could pay month-to-month for that room, but I couldn’t save enough to rent a new place.

My story took a lucky turn: I became active in a community organization, and the connections I formed led to the offer of an apartment to rent. Having a place to call home means that, even with a mental illness, I no longer need therapy.

We need more happy endings. With too many folks just one crisis away from becoming homeless, LD 1710 would be the support many Mainers need.

Gina Morin, Auburn

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