Bipartisan budget with historic housing investments signed into law by Gov. Mills
AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law the bipartisan budget approved last week by the Legislature. Included in the budget agreement is nearly $100 million to help address Maine’s housing crisis.
“As Senate Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Housing, I know how hard we worked as a committee to deliver a transformational package of legislation to address the full spectrum of housing issues Maine is facing. This budget will help those who are chronically homeless get back on the right track, build more affordable housing, and bolster safety net programs to keep people in their homes,” said Sen. Teresa S. Pierce, D-Falmouth. “Maine’s housing crisis crosses party and generational lines. I’m proud of the game-changing investments we made in Maine people. The committee’s work is not done, but this is an incredible step forward.”
The budget includes the following programs aimed at tackling the shortage of safe, available and affordable housing units, and assisting low-income Mainers to help them stay in their homes:
- Expands the Housing First Program, a transformational program that provides shelter to chronically unhoused people and provides 24/7 wraparound services such as counseling and treatment for mental health, behavioral health, substance use disorder, and connections to social services
- $70 million for housing subsidy programs through the Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program and the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program
- $15 million for the Low-Income Assistance Program (LIAP) which helps low-income homeowners and renters reduce their utility bills
- $12 million for the continuation of short-term emergency housing initiatives that are currently in progress
- $5 million in shelter operating subsidies, which will greatly benefit shelters across the state and the dedicated staff who run them
As a joint select committee, the Housing Committee is authorized to meet through the off-session to continue working on finding ways to address Maine’s housing crisis and continue delivering robust solutions.
Gov. Mills signing the budget, joined by a bipartisan group of legislators, including Sen. Pierce (back row, third from right)