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US Senate Candidate Savage Supports Demands of Portland Tent-Out Protest Led by Unhoused Portlanders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday July 29, 2020

For more info: Sam Pfeifle, 207-749-0298, sam@lisaformaine.org

Today, Lisa Savage, independent Green for U.S. Senate in Maine, issued the following statement:

“Housing is a human right. This is not some kind of new, ‘left-wing’ idea. In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt included ‘the right to a decent home’ in his famous ‘Second Bill of Rights.’ In 1948, the United States signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declared housing a piece of the human right to ‘an adequate standard of living.’ Similarly, in 1966, the U.S. signed onto the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and swore to uphold the right to adequate housing. 

“And yet Portland, Maine, and the United States currently face a humanitarian crisis of homelessness, with no political will in sight to address it. 

“The nationwide eviction freeze must be reinstated immediately, and the state of Maine and City of Portland must stand ready to re-implement one immediately should the federal government fail to act before Maine’s expires on August 3. 

“Further, I strongly support the list of demands presented by the current tent-out protest on the steps of Portland’s City Hall. The city’s policing of those forced to sleep in a public park due to no other option is unacceptable and the city must immediately work with those impacted and other stakeholders, like the Preble Street Resource Center, to create a safe space for unhoused Portlanders to sleep at night, find bathroom and shower facilities, and access services. 

“In the words of unhoused organizer Jessica Falero, ‘They’ll open outdoor dining downtown to fix the economy, but they’ll stop food distribution for people experiencing homelessness. They don’t care. They care about capitalism.”

"Youth organizer Aaron Porter said, ‘I will no longer sit in silence while my family’s future is decided for us.’"

“‘The only difference between me and you,’ said youth organizer Cody Taylor, ‘is you have a house, you have a job, and I sleep on a bench.’" 

“I hear the desperation in these voices and I will do everything I can to lift them up and support their efforts.”

“As part of a longer-term and larger solution, I pledge to make the eradication of homelessness a top policy priority when I am elected to the U.S. Senate, via the following steps:

  • I will advocate for dramatically increased funding for the creation of public housing, including supportive housing designed to specifically address chronic homelessness. Once a core effort of governments across the United States, the near elimination of public housing creation has been a tragic policy mistake. 
  • I will advocate for federal law that eliminates any local or state law criminalizing homelessness.
  • I will advocate for Medicare for All and work with my colleagues in the Senate to implement it. As medical bills are a primary cause of bankruptcy and homelessness, Medicare for All would be a direct solution to the problem, but would also save US residents billions of dollars annually, allowing both individuals and communities to invest more in housing security. 
  • I will advocate to fund harm-reduction measures, including the treatment of substance-use disorders, as well as the establishment of safe-injection sites.
  • I will advocate for a substantial defunding of the military and police, converting that spending to efforts that seek to address community problems in an empathetic and people-focused way, including more money for mental health counseling, domestic abuse intervention counseling, and public health efforts. 

“Homelessness is an abomination and completely preventable with the vast resources of the United States. However, only dedicated actions by those in positions of power can create the policy changes necessary to eradicate it. Every elected official at every level should see it as a moral imperative.”

Find information about Lisa Savage, her policy positions, background, and how to support her people-powered campaign at www.LisaforMaine.org.

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