State is spending a shocking amount on temporary housing for asylum seekers

2024 Legislative Session Update with Rep. Jim Thorne

House District 35 – Carmel and Hermon

The topic of housing is very much on the minds of Mainers struggling to afford homes or affordable rents in this time of every increasing prices. Homeless camps are now present in a growing number of Maine communities, not just major cities.

That is why I am shocked to learn how millions of dollars of taxpayer money is being mismanaged at the expense of long time Mainers and pressing state needs.

The Maine State Housing Authority provided an accounting of $55 million in expenditures associated with the Emergency Housing Relief Fund.

• Of that $55 million dollar fund, $35 million (63%) was spend on housing approximately 2,200 asylum seekers.

• The Transitional housing portion of the fund spent an average of $56,000 per unit.

• $1.2 million in Maine taxpayer dollars was spent on legal assistance for federal asylum claims.

• $13.9 million dollars went to just one hotel providing temporary housing for 80 families

• Money has gone to building new, rent-free luxury apartments in Brunswick for asylum seekers.

These revelations are deeply troubling. The Mills administration continues to promote Maine as a destination state asylum for seekers and has proposed the creation of an Office for New Americans.

The Maine Housing Authority figures are just for temporary housing costs, not all the other human services required to support people with no means of support or ability to work.

Maine’s General Assistance budget has grown 330% from $13 million to $43 million in 2023. With so many Mainers struggling to survive, these ongoing costs with place added burdens on taxpayers.  

I support immigration, where people come here legally, then get in line with everyone else. All Americans were, at one time, immigrants. That is the strength of our country. I just believe that our homeless veterans, elderly and people struggling with mental illness should not have to go to the back of the line for services that our tax dollars support.

I want the Mills administration and legislative leaders to provide a plan for addressing this unsustainable situation going forward. I care about the people that are here, but attracting even more migrants without meeting pressing state needs is irresponsible.

I am interested in your thoughts on these and any other topics of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me at Jim.Thorne@legislature.maine.gov or call 207 287-1440 to share them, or if I can be of assistance with state matters.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the Maine House. I love hearing your thoughts and concerns, and appreciate your input!

Sincerely, Rep. Jim Thorne

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