Letter to the Editor: Portland needs help funding services for Maine’s homeless and asylum seekers

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I’m on Social Security Disability Insurance and maybe I can work part-time at a hazy entry-level job, to my shame and the judgment of others (bootstrap American thinking, here). I feel like I’m hanging on by my fingernails financially, but I want to do my best to stay. Here we have social services like public transportation and access to medical, mental health and trauma care. We also have the guts of places like Preble Street, Maine Needs, Through These Doors.

We have many people who need these services: survivors of domestic violence, asylum seekers, veterans, people with mental health issues and those who are judged the most – people with substance addiction. I have SSDI privilege and a roof over my head. Many don’t. Access to services is why we have most of Maine’s homeless and asylum seekers here.

But Portland loses the fight. We bear most of the costs. We can’t afford it next year. Homeowners are facing yet another property tax hike, and it’s fueling resentment in everyone. The resentment of people paying these rising property taxes towards the homeless and asylum seekers, and the resentment of people like me about rising rents, and the NIMBYism of people supposed to vote blue.

But stuck between this class war, you know who really loses? Homeless people and asylum seekers. By increasing property taxes, we are making an already strained situation worse. We are losing.

Help us, Maine. We are firing on all cylinders, but we are losing. Help us.

Dylan Gallagher
Portland

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