Our Year in Review video features some of the friends and neighbors who stepped up to make a difference in 2016.
Every day at Preble Street, the community comes together to help Mainers move forward to better lives, giving their time, their energy, their money, their voices, and their hearts.
Your donation to Preble Street does more than ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community make it through another day. Your support empowers brave, determined people to break the cycle of homelessness by finding work, studying hard, never giving up, learning new skills, finding their voices, reuniting with family, and reaching their goals.
Most of all it helps them hold on to hope during their darkest hours.
Please join us this year in growing our community of giving hands and grateful hearts.
Each year on the longest night of homelessness, Preble Street, Homeless Voices for Justice, community leaders and concerned neighbors gather for the annual Homeless Persons' Memorial Vigil to remember our homeless friends who have died and recommit ourselves to the task of ending homelessness.
So far in 2016, 32 people living in Portland, Maine, have died without homes.
"As a doctor, I know that if this were a new disease in a new community there would be a rampant call for action. And the fact that there isn't always makes me sad, but also tells me how much work there is to do," Dr. Peter Bates, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Maine Medical Center about the urgent need to find solutions to homelessness during this year's vigil on December 21, 2016.
Over the past year, Good Shepherd Food Bank and Preble Street have undertaken the first research effort of its kind to better understand trends of hunger and food pantry usage in Maine.
The results from more than 2,000 surveys completed in 244 towns in every county show how much Mainers are depending on local food pantries, stretching the capacity of a network that was set up for emergencies. A quarter of those surveyed had lost SNAP benefits in the past year, and 59 percent said they were using pantries more this year than last.
Eighty-two percent of those surveyed at their local food pantries use pantries once a month or more often. Seventy-three percent have made trade-offs, having to choose between paying for food or other necessities.
A crowd estimated at 200 people gathered in Monument Square on Wednesday evening to light candles and read the names of homeless residents who died this year.
The event, held each year on the evening of the winter solstice, started in the courtyard of the Preble Street social service agency before the procession marched up to nearby Monument Square.
“This is such an important night to show our support for our brothers and sisters who are struggling with homelessness,” Caroline Fernandes, residential services director for Preble Street, told the crowd.
For the past 22 years, advocates and the people they serve have gathered for the Homeless Persons’ annual Memorial Vigil. It gives Portlanders a chance to mourn lives cut short and to confirm their commitment to finding a home for everyone who needs one.