The League of Young Voters


An Act to Create Jobs and Improve Energy Efficiency Through the Transformation of Maine’s Housing Stock.
April 8, 2009, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Read Jenna’s testimony on LD 774!

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TESTIMONY OF JENNA VENDIL

LD 774 – Ought to Pass

An Act to Create Jobs and Improve Energy Efficiency Through the Transformation of Maine’s Housing Stock.

Submitted to the
JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON MAINE’S ENERGY FUTURE

March 25, 2009

Good afternoon, Chairman Bartlett, Chairman Martin and members of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Energy Future, thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of LD 774, “An Act to Create Jobs and Improve Energy Efficiency Through the Transformation of Maine’s Housing Stock.”  My name is Jenna Vendil; I’m the Field Director for The League of Young Voters and a Portland resident.

The League of Young Voters empowers young people to be engaged in politics on a local level and collaborates with organizations to solve problems in our communities.  We’ve joined the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition’s campaign to support this bill because it addresses two of the most critical problems that young people are facing in these tough economic times: investment in affordable housing and job creation.

The League is statewide organization, though we’re based in Portland where a large number of Maine’s young people reside.  Like the rest of the state, Portlanders are feeling the impact of rising food, energy, and housing costs.  The current economic climate doesn’t help the problem that good paying jobs are in short supply—a problem Mainers were dealing with before this economic recession.  As the Portland Press Herald recently cited, Maine has lost about 8,900 jobs since December.  This economic downturn has human faces—they are our parents, our spouses, our neighbors, and our friends.

Housing is frequently cited by our members as one of the biggest costs and barriers for achieving economic security and stability for young people, especially those in low or moderately income households.  Those who are fortunate to have job currently are paying anywhere between 30-50% of their incomes on housing.

A member of our organization, “George,” came to me last week asking for help looking for a job.  After talking to him, he informed me that over the last six months his roommates had one by one moved out of their three-bedroom apartment to move in with their partners and families.  He had been working twelve-hour days during the election and didn’t have the time to dedicate to apartment searches.  Now that the election is over and he’s back to looking for another job, his final roommate gave him an unexpected two weeks notice to find new roommates so he could keep the apartment.  He hasn’t been able to find a job yet, and can’t afford to move into a single-bedroom apartment by himself.  George told me that if he didn’t find a job or a roommate, he would have to move back to Northern Maine to live with his parents.  As a passionate activist and a contributor to neighborhood groups in my community, it would be a shame if he had to move against his will because of the lack of opportunities.

The League wants to ensure that investment in housing meets the people with greatest need—severely low-income, homeless, as well as single people.  LD 774 would address the issues of jobs and housing for Maine by providing a steady revenue source to ensure adequate investment is made for energy efficient affordable housing.  It rewards businesses and its employees who commit to living near their place of work, reducing their carbon footprint.  It makes a commitment to build multi-family units so it can meet the needs of working families in Maine.  We support the bill and encourage you to pass it, but to also consider single young people like George to have his affordable housing needs met through this bill.

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