Preble Street gets big grant to help veterans

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Preble Street, the agency that helps the homeless in Portland, has received its largest grant ever.

The $1.7 million will go towards expanding its programs that help homeless veterans. It is estimated that there are 1,000 homeless people in Maine who have served in the military.

“What we’re going to be able to do over the next couple of years is help about 500 veterans and their family members so we think this is going to have a significant impact,” said Preble Street’s Mark Swann.

Besides helping veterans who are already homeless, the program at Preble also identifies veterans who are on the verge of being homeless and offers them assistance.

“That’s what stopped me from being literally homeless or living in a shelter. They refused to let me feel that way. They say I’ve done a little too much for my country,” said veteran Lawrence Burns who relies on the program.

The program will branch outside of greater Portland to Lewiston and Bangor, allowing workers to get into rural areas to help veterans with everything from housing, employment and getting the federal benefits they’re entitled to because of their service.