BANGOR – Each year volunteers from around the state take part in an outreach event to survey the number of homeless in Maine. Several local agencies will brave the cold at the end of January in hopes of making a difference in the lives of others.
Imagine sleeping in subzero temperatures. for some in the greater Bangor area that’s a reality, living a life of homelessness.
Each year information is collected on the number of homeless across the state with volunteers pitching in from local agencies.
"This year just from what I know, there are a lot more people staying outside than usual," Bruce Hews, a volunteer, says. "Just because the shelters are crowded and the people who just don’t want to come inside."
"We’ve been in contact with food shelters, town offices who have administered general assistance, where a lot of individuals who are homeless would go to," Nathaniel Grace, Community Liaison for the Maine National Guard, says.
Volunteers will conduct the "Point In Time" survey come sundown on January 28.
The numbers collected serving a great importance to the state.
"The housing urban development hub will determine the number of dollars given to Maine, based upon the count of homeless in the state," Grace says. "Homeless programs are driven by the numbers that will be derived from the point in time survey."
"There’s a need for more services to help people get out of homelessness or that rut that they may be in," Hews says.
That’s where you come in, taking part in this community outreach.
"It’s very hard," Hews says. "I mean when you see someone who’s sleeping outside when it’s below zero out, and they don’t have the proper stuff to keep them warm. I mean your heart goes out to them."
Among the 17 agencies to volunteer include: Maine Military & Community Network, PATH, Tri-County Mental Health Services, Preble Street, CCM/Parish Social Ministry, Maine State Housing Authority, Maine Vet Centers, American Legion, Career Centers, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Office of Senator A. King, The City of Biddeford, CDBG Program, Marine Corps League, Veterans Inc., Volunteers of America Northern New England, DAV, and American Red Cross.
Those interested can also contact Jerry DeWitt, LSW, Veterans Outreach Project/TCMHS at (207) 783-4663 extension 228.