I want to publicly express my disappointment that City Councilor Jill Duson would take the irresponsible action last week of trying to suppress affordable housing in Portland, by voting against having the council’s Housing Committee take up a proposed increase in the number of affordable housing units required in larger developments. (The majority of councilors voted in favor of referring the proposal to the committee.)

Portland is a uniquely small city and has a great opportunity to really address homelessness and possibly end it here. This is not out of our reach, but it’s a battle because of people like Duson who neither understand nor care about homelessness and poverty. We will have to fight even harder to eliminate people from going hungry, living on the streets and being given up on through lack of access to basic human rights that the rest of us, including Duson, are lucky to have.

Duson should know that delaying action on affordable housing will also contribute to child poverty, domestic violence and homelessness among women, including those who are pregnant, in the state. There is a incredibly long wait list for the limited affordable housing in Portland, so by the city’s creating more housing, the families who’ve been waiting for years, with little hope, could finally have a place to call home.

There are many caseworkers, staff and volunteers in Portland working hard to help the homeless people. I hope that the good people in Maine will rise above actions like Duson’s, reject her apathy and do something to bear kinder fruit in the society they partake in.

Tanya Lima