In 1975 Preble Street was founded as a neighborhood center to involve and empower homeless and low-income residents. As homelessness became an urban issue, Preble Street was the first agency in Maine to recognize that homeless people needed a place to stay during the day and has operated a day shelter since 1981, providing free meals and access to clothing, phones, bathrooms, mail, and linkage to community resources for housing, healthcare, mental health treatment, employment, etc.

As ideas for a more unified community resource center emerged, Preble Street launched a unique collaborative partnership of private and public agencies working together to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the homeless and low-income residents of Greater Portland, consolidating three soup kitchens, a food pantry, the City of Portland Homeless Healthcare Clinic, a day shelter, social services, a housing location program, and a homelessness prevention program.

I see you there
and the sound
of your voice
and the surprise
in your eyes
and the torrent
of words
and the wonder
of their lives
and we are forever
in that room
where the sun dances
through the shadows
above the place
where love stops
and stays
with them and us
for yet awhile

— Joe Kreisler

This model was replicated in 1996 at the Teen Center and expanded to include overnight shelters for homeless youth and women in 2004 and 2007, respectively. The first permanent low-barrier supportive housing for chronically homeless adults in Maine, Logan Place, was opened in 2005, as well as casework support for previously homeless families in community–based housing.

Today, Preble Street has become the hub of programs for the most vulnerable and underserved residents of Portland.