Rally marks longest day for the homeless

PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER) — Advocates for the homeless say more than two hundred men, women and children slept in shelters in the city of Portland last night.

That fact was highlighted at a rally in Portland’s Monument Square Friday afternoon. It was pouring rain but there was no rain date for the rally. Organizers say that’s because there’s no “rain date” for the homeless. No matter the weather, they have to spend the day outside.

“In the winter they make all kinds of compromises to be out of the cold,” says Preble Street’s Elena Schmidt. “Women might be in inappropriate abusive situations. People might sleep in basements or hide somewhere where they feel they can take cover.”

But come summer more and more people with no place to live simply live outdoors. And that, say advocates, isn’t safe.

In the summer the number of people on the street increases.

Organizers at the rally said that donations are always needed to help the homeless. The Preble Street Resource Center in downtown Portland is happy to accept warm socks and personal care items. And most food pantries in Maine need donations of food and especially money — since they can buy in bulk and really stretch a dollar.