Preble Street seeks new home for Lighthouse teen shelter

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Preble Street is hoping to move its homeless shelter for teens. But first, it needs approval from Portland’s planning board. A workshop was held on the proposed move of the Lighthouse Shelter Tuesday afternoon.

Preble Street says the current shelter is in a building with a crumbling foundation and it is too small. It has 16 beds, but Executive Director Mark Swann says the Lighthouse Shelter turns people away two out of every three nights because there isn’t room.

Swann says the teens who are turned away often make unsafe choices just to find a place inside to sleep.

Swann said, “They can go to the adult shelters, but more often they try to find a friend, try to find somewhere to crash for the night, and often are trading their bodies for a bed that night as well.”

The proposed new location for the shelter is right across the street from Preble Street’s Teen Center, where teens can go to get services during the day.

The planning board is expected to have at least one more public hearing before deciding on the issue. Swann expects a decision to come by the end of next month.