STATEWIDE — Right now up to 25,000 Maine households are on a three- to five-year waiting list for federal Section 8 housing.
Maine lawmakers are trying a new way of getting low-income families into homes as fast as possible.
While there are already renters vouchers in Maine, many landlords aren’t accepting them.
The bill’s sponsor said this is an effort to bridge the gap.
“This proposal will support landlords by helping tenants to pay their rent, keeping tens of thousands of people in Maine housed during the public emergency, and support people who are experiencing homelessness to retain permanent housing,” said Rep. Victoria Morales, D- South Portland.
The renter voucher proposal will provide $2,000 to a landlord if a tenant has trouble paying their rent.
“The three components are landlord partners who commit to removing the biggest barriers to applying for all housing today. Credit score, background and eviction history check, last month’s rent, and fees. They also agreed to accept housing vouchers and rental assistance,” said Morales.
The proposed law would provide housing assistance to families.
“I can tell you definitively that this model works. Out of the 110 households that we’ve served in the last two years through Project HOME, upwards of 240 individuals and children. All of them, every single one of them, would have been screened out of the standard application screening process and would likely still be unhoused or unstably housed,” said Martha Stein, executive director of Hope Acts,
Morales said statistics show that of Project HOME’s participants, 98 percent were successful in keeping their home with assistance.
“There are financial assurances and housing navigators in place that allow landlords to feel confident that they can rent to the clients that we work with,” she said.
The committee will meet later this month to decide whether to recommend the bill’s passage or defeat it.