My husband, sons and I feel fortunate to call Portland our home. We are thankful that we have a house of our own, comfortable beds in which to sleep and food on our table.

Though money is tight with two children headed to college in the next year, we will gladly find a way to pay for a $100-$150 increase in our property taxes in order to ensure that the hundreds of asylum seekers who share our city can continue to have food and shelter, too.

We would, in fact, even be willing to contribute to a fund to help assist property tax payers for whom such an increase would represent an extreme hardship.

This is not to say that I believe increasing the property taxes for Portland residents is the right way to fund a General Assistance program. I don’t.

I believe that other towns and, indeed, the state as a whole, should work together to ensure that all of Maine’s people – those whose families have been here for generations and those who are new arrivals in our fair state – are clothed, fed, sheltered and given the opportunity to find employment and become contributors to our local and state economies.

Unfortunately, at present, it does not appear that a satisfactory funding solution will be found in time to avoid thrusting onto the street hundreds of people who have already endured great adversity. Therefore, while my family and I wait for such a collaboration to take shape, we are willing to shoulder a slightly heavier load.

I ask that the Portland City Council do what is necessary to continue providing General Assistance to asylum seekers in our city. It is, I believe, the right thing to do.

Belinda Ray

East Bayside resident