This story appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills says roughly 3,000 people could be evicted when a federal emergency housing assistance program goes away at the end of the year.
Some 34,000 Maine households used the housing assistance program, which was created during the pandemic to help people stay housed amid soaring rents and housing costs.
Earlier this month, Mills proposed an emergency bill that included $22 million to provide temporary assistance to those households still relying on the federal program, but the bill stalled when Republicans in the Maine Senate blocked it.
The governor remains hopeful that the Legislature will ultimately approve her heating and housing proposal because she can’t take unilateral action to prevent the looming evictions.
“We are hopeful of giving them a lifeline just for the coming couple of months,” she said. “Property owners, landlords, small businesses are on board with this. They need this help, too. People are in difficult financial straits because of high energy costs and increasing costs of living. And we need to just get them over this hump.”
The proposal providing the bridge assistance could still pass as an emergency bill.
Democratic legislative leaders announced Friday that they’ll hold a public hearing on the bill on Wednesday, which is what Senate Republicans had demanded before opposing the measure on the first day of the session.