Editor’s note: The author’s hometown has been blacked out to protect her safety and that of her child.

Moving to Maine, I never could have imagined how much the housing crisis would affect my life. The lack of affordable housing is a nightmare for too many families in Maine, a nightmare that my young child and I have been experiencing for nine months.

Last summer, I found myself homeless following domestic violence. I joined the crowd of other Mainers desperate for an overcrowded housing market. Unable to find safe and stable housing, my child and I were fortunate enough to be housed in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Thanks to a project-based housing voucher and Mainers looking out for each other, my child and I are successfully, safely and affordably relocated. Stories like ours are all too common, and it’s time for lawmakers to take bold action. Young Mainers, like my child, are the most vulnerable, and we need to do this for them and their future.

We can protect them with legislation to help end the housing crisis – bills like DL 484to fund affordable housing, and DL 473, to increase social housing vouchers. By establishing affordable housing targets for service center communities with DL 1673. We can go even further by passing DL 2003to create more units under existing zoning and land use laws, giving every town in Maine the ability to say their “local character” means homes for children.

Everyone deserves a safe, warm, affordable and stable home. Lawmakers must act to ensure that there is enough housing for everyone who needs it.

Hazelnut Willow