AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Monday joined at least 25 state and local leaders in pledging support to the Biden's Administration's new 'House America' initiative.
The infinitive seeks to use some $350 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to take significant steps to address homelessness nationwide by promising to rehouse 100,000 people.
In Maine, as many as 2,097 people experience homelessness on any given day, according to the latest data from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. That includes 260 families, 102 veterans, and 139 young adults, according to the council.
It is a number that has been rising for years, made worse by the ongoing affordable housing crisis.
Gov. Mills was one of a handful of people to take part in a national call with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge for the initiative unveiling Monday afternoon.
Mills established a goal to rehouse as many as 1,000 families and add 500 new affordable housing units statewide.
"Maine is a proud partner in House America," Mills said. "I look forward to working with fellow governors and mayors such as you folks and the federal government to end homeless in our state and in our nation, until every person can hear those two words that mean the world to them: 'Welcome home.'"
In addition to emergency housing vouchers and home funds already provided through the American Rescue Plan, the governor also touted new legislation to bring more resources to the state's vulnerable homeless population.
In July, Gov. Mills signed a bill into law to allocate $50 million in federal COVID relief money to MaineHousing for affordable housing.
The Biden administration aims to hold these calls with local leaders on a monthly basis.