Carol McCracken (Post # 2,601)
Elizabeth Crimmin lives at Florence House these days and has for a few months. Before that she was homeless and lived in places she doesn’t want to talk about. That included others couches sometimes. Before that she left an abusive relationship. She worked for Idexx, in Westbrook, for about five years. She’s applied for 27 apartments in Portland and not found one who would accept her. Life’s stresses, that began back in her youth, just got too big for her she said as she started to cry.
Elizabeth was one of a SRO crowd who attended a Housing Committee meeting yesterday late afternoon. It asked anyone attending to “prioritize” the housing remedies that the city’s Committee has accumulated over the past few months. There were many covering a broad range of subjects. Several home owners attended to object to high property taxes in Portland that keep escalating. Another attendee is not satisfied with “in-law” unit regulations. A prominent Munjoy Hill developer currently being sued for the poor design of a building proposal for the Hill as well, attended. Two well-known landlords owning many rental units each attended – no doubt not especially supportive of renter rights. One attendee focused on transportation issues. Isn’t there another forum for transportation issues, somewhere? Maybe the Transportation Committee?
Other issues under consideration came from zoning issues, development and redevelopment on city property – all nice distractions for the real crises that has beset Portland renters for years now and that the City Council has ignored.
The real crises in Portland is that renters have been subjected to archaic laws in Portland – ones that provide them no protection when they need it most. There is a rental crises in Portland and by allowing developers, home owners and virtually anyone with a self-interest to prioritize rental issues Councilors are abdicating their responsibility to one large segment of the Portland population. In other words, the scope of this Committee was way too broad from the beginning. It should have been more focused or limited – on rental issues where the crises is. This broad-based approach just supports the fact that the City has no interest in retaining renters in the City. alas, the Housing Committee, Councilor Jill Duson, Chair, has managed to dilute the real rental crises in an effective way. How rigged is this?
This is allowing the fox into the chicken – house and the City doesn’t care.