Homelessness task force addresses growing issue

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – More than 300 people will seek emergency shelter in Portland tonight. And those numbers are growing.

A task force has spent the last year looking for ways to address the issue and Wednesday night they shared their findings with the public.

The task force believes that its recommendations can save the city $3 million annually. But those savings would only come with a large upfront investment.

The task force wants the city to build three new “housing first” buildings which put the homeless in stable housing with appropriate services.

The group also wants expanded case management services and a centralized intake system that immediately connects those seeking emergency shelter with services.

You can kind of ensure that everyone is being seen and everyone is being assessed,” explains task force member Thomas Ptacek, “When you have a variety of different places where that might go on, people can kind of slip through the cracks and there’s no one that meets with them and is able to assess the best way to help them.”

Task force members believe the millions in savings will largely come in reductions to emergency and police services.