I have read with interest the Anchor’s recent coverage of conversations about a Short-term Rental Policy Task Force, and the efforts of the Affordable Housing Working Group.

As Harpswell’s residents describe diminishing community cohesion and an uncertain future, I want our Harpswell neighbors to know that Tedford Housing’s programs are a critical part of the answer to local housing insecurity.

For 35 years, Tedford Housing, based in Brunswick, has been the sole provider of homelessness prevention services and emergency shelter in the southern Midcoast. Unfortunately, housing insecurity is widespread, even in coastal communities with concentrations of wealth — sometimes especially in these communities. Demand for emergency shelter has been overwhelming for years; last year, Tedford’s shelters in Brunswick served 69 individual adults and 14 families, but turned away 463 adults and 139 families who needed a place to stay.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Tedford is shovel-ready on plans for an expanded emergency housing facility that will transform our capacity to address more of the unmet need throughout the region. Tedford’s project is a small piece of multifaceted statewide efforts to solve the housing crisis, but it will be the most impactful piece of public health infrastructure for our area since the expansion of Mid Coast Hospital. We just need the funds.

Harpswell is home to some of Tedford’s strongest supporters, having collectively pledged nearly $400,000 of the $5.3 million raised so far toward our $8.3 million goal. But we need more of our neighbors to do their part.

Whatever your vision is for Harpswell’s future, all of us need it and surrounding towns to be places where residents have the supports needed to lead healthy, productive lives. Please reach out to learn more about our project, and let’s get this done together. There’s no time to waste.

Andrew Lardie, Interim Executive Director, Tedford Housing