Number of homeless people sleeping on streets in Portland doubles

PORTLAND (WGME) — After noticing an alarming amount of people sleeping on the streets, officials with Preble Street say they jumped into action.

Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann says in October they noticed more people spending the night outside, so they decided to sit down and do a count.

He says a handful of social workers made a list of people they knew who were sleeping outside. They came up with 88 people.

He says that’s double what the number was in October of 2014.

In the last few months, he says they’ve worked hard to find these people housing and he’s not sure what the number is down to now, but knows it’s not as high.

“I sure hope it’s not 88 now given this weather and I’m pretty sure it’s not. I think a lot of people have done what they have to do to find other arrangements or, in a good way, come into the shelters that are there to serve them,” Swann said.

Swann says there are only so many people who can sleep in the shelter or the overflow shelter at night, so regardless there will always be some people on the street.

He says they do their best to provide them with what they need in those situations.