Maine’s housing situation changed drastically in 5 years

Generous welfare benefits and the Governor’s call for 75,000 “new Mainers” have fueled the crisis

This is Representative Jennifer Poirier of Skowhegan with the Weekly Republican Address. 

In 2019, before Governor Mills’ pandemic lockdown, housing was affordable and home ownership was within reach of the average working family.

A young couple with decent jobs could afford rent or purchase a home in Maine.

That has rapidly changed. Experts now say that buying a home in Maine is the hardest it has ever been. Between now and 2030, the Maine State Housing Authority estimates the state will need more than 80,000 homes to meet the current shortage and estimated growth of people coming to Maine.

Consider how the problem grows bigger with each passing day.

In April 2019, the median sales price of a Maine home was 218,700. It now stands at $389,900.

The Maine Development Foundation’s 2023 Measures of Growth report asserts that the cost of a median-priced home rose to 62% in 2021, and then 72% in 2022. 

Maine’s has the 16th highest rent among the 50 states.  The average fair market rent for a Maine residential rental property is $1,477, compared to the national average rent of $1,274.

At the same time, despite major increases to the minimum wage, income growth has failed to keep up with inflation, with a declining middle class going deeper into debt and struggling to keep up.

Maine is being transformed into state that only wealthy people or welfare recipients can afford to live in.

The U.S. has had a shrinking middle class since the 1970’s, but the problem in Maine appears to be far worse.

Just this week, a WalletHub report found that Maine has the second lowest median annual household income, followed only by West Virginia.

Repeatedly, legislative Republicans have offered proposals to lower energy costs and allow people to keep more of their hard-earned money to help with the runaway cost of living experienced by Mainers.

Democrats continue to reject them in favor of more spending on their priorities.

We cannot pretend that the unprecedented influx of migrants coming to Maine is not a major contributor to the housing problem. The migrants being shipped from the southern border have no visible means of support and cannot work.   

This massive influx is part of the Governor’s goal of bringing 75,000 “new Mainers” to Maine.

Toward that end, Democrats and Governor Mills recently established an Office of “New Americans.”

Problems are growing in communities throughout Maine.

According to a Westbrook city official, “new Mainers” receive between 90 and 95 percent of the city’s welfare benefits. General assistance was designed to meet the basic needs of community residents, not accommodate large numbers of people shipped here from the southern border.   

The City of Sanford’s general assistance budget averaged $170,000 through 2020. City officials estimate that it will has exceed 1 million dollars in 2024, with new Mainers responsible for all of the increase.  

Back in March, Republicans alerted the press and public to the fact that:

• Taxpayers spent over $34 million to house approximately 2,200 asylum seekers; 63% of the entire Emergency Housing Relief Fund

• Taxpayers spent $56,000 per unit on transitional housing for migrants

• Taxpayers spend $1.2 million dollars on legal assistance for federal asylum claims, only 15% of which will ultimately be granted

• Taxpayers spent $13.9 million dollars on one hotel that houses up to 80 families

• Taxpayer money is being used to build new, rent-free luxury apartments in Brunswick

Since that time, Democrats passed a party-line budget that diverted even more money away from pressing problems and toward housing for “new Mainers.”

Why are Democrats focused on attracting up 75,000 new migrants to Maine when 80,000 housing units are needed to meet current needs?

According to one report, most of the people served by Portland’s Oxford Street Homeless Shelter are homeless people from out-of-state, predominantly from California.

Republicans continue to offer proposals that tie work, education, community service, or disability to the receipt of welfare benefits.

We respect people that spent years following the rules and earning citizenship in order to be part of the American dream. 

U.S. citizens need to be our top priority if Maine is to have any future. 

Attracting new welfare recipients to Maine at taxpayer expense is making our housing crisis even worse.

This has been Representative Jennifer Poirier with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

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