Letter to the editor: Numbers of homeless climbing

Make no mistake about it, homelessness in Maine is on the rise. Continued cuts to MaineCare and General Assistance programs mean only one thing: more people on the streets of our communities.

Here in Portland, the streets are exactly where people will end up; we simply don’t have room in our shelters for any more people. The overflow to the Oxford Street Shelter is overflowed; people are being housed overnight in the General Assistance waiting room in chairs. Because of fire codes, you can’t sleep in a waiting room, so you must just sit all night long.

More homeless people with nowhere to go doesn’t sound like a solution to ending homelessness to us. Our homeless will end up in our neighborhood doorways, emergency rooms, jails and, for those of us with a heart, in our conscience.

The current administration’s constant barrage of anti-poverty statements has only increased the separation of classes in our state. The "have nots" are being cast away with derogatory slurs. Maine is in a homeless state of emergency and we need our administration to help, not hinder the effort to end homelessness.

We ask all Mainers to take a step back from anti-poverty sentiment and work on solutions to today’s problems: the lack of affordable housing and livable wages, unemployment, food insecurity and the rise in people living in poverty. All of these problems lead to one thing: increased homelessness for our children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

Steve Huston
for Homeless Voices for Justice