Newly Proposed Bill Would Give All Maine Residents a ‘Right to Housing’
It's no secret that the cost of what used to be "affordable" housing has skyrocketed in Maine, and around the country, over the last several years.
Actually, since the COVID pandemic, so many of our basic essentials like groceries and rent/mortgage rates have gone through the roof... no pun intended.
The other day, while I was watching TikTok, I came across a video of a young New Yorker giving a quick tour of his micro-apartment in the city. The unit had a very small kitchenette and just enough space to put a twin-size bed in it. There was no bathroom in the unit itself, instead there was a shared toilet/shower just down the hallway.
The guy in the video said the micro-apartment cost him a whopping $2,000 a month.
Here in Maine, some lawmakers have decided to try and help those who are having trouble affording a place to live by making housing a right.
According to an article published by WGME 13, Ben Collings, a democratic lawmaker from Portland, has proposed a new bill to amend the Maine constitution. Collings argued that if we have a right to food and guns, then Mainers should also have a right to housing.
The proposed bill, LD 853, will be open for public comment at 1:40 pm Tuesday, January 23, at the Maine State House. Eventually, the legislature is likely to take up the bill, which if it passes, would finally head to the voters of Maine to make a final determination on.
However, there is limited information on how exactly and amended Maine constitution that includes the "right to housing" would affect people.
Does it mean people who couldn't afford it would be housed freely? Does it mean that lower-income Mainers would qualify for subprime mortgages or lower rent/interest rates? Well, that part hasn't been made clear yet, at least not in the WGME article.
Brit Vitalius, the president of the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, told WGME in part,
“It seems like the word or phrase has some real legal implications. I’m just left with questions.”
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