AUGUSTA – A
new report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department says homelessness
in Maine dove by more than 30% from 2013 to 2019 under Governor Paul LePage.
The report, which outlines key findings of HUD’s 2019 Point-In-Time (PIT) count and Housing Inventory Count (HIC) chronicles the progress of all fifty states in battling homelessness. In Maine, homelessness dropped 30.2%, nearly 10 times the national average of 3.8%.
While he got
little credit for it in the Maine media, LePage, who was homeless as a child,
was an advocate for the homeless, having served on the board of the Mid-Maine
Homeless Shelter for years. He also worked to assist private groups that helped
homeless Mainers and advocated for community solutions.
says that nationally about 570,000 people on any given night were homeless in
the United States.
Of those, about
2,100 would have been from Maine. Almost half of all homeless people in America
actually, according to the report, are in three states: California (151,000),
New York (92,000), and Florida (28,000).
As of 2019,
Maine ranked as the state with the fourth lowest percentage of people
experiencing homelessness who were unsheltered at 4.4%.
Maine’s economy also rebounded during this time frame, with unemployment levels dropping and staying near record lows near the end of LePage’s term. Wage growth from 2013-15 in Maine also led the nation.