Responding to COVID-19

Preble Street has never closed its doors and never will. Preble Street is home to hundreds of people each day, and we are here to see them through the COVID-19 crisis. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP!

UPDATE 4/17 | A message from Executive Director Mark Swann: Preble Street needs your help

UPDATE 4/16 | Preble Street now has a sufficient supply of reusable cloth masks for volunteers to use while on site.

While we still encourage volunteers to bring their own masks, a mask will be provided to any volunteer who does not have their own.

UPDATE 4/8 | Based on the CDC’s recent guidance, Preble Street is requiring that all staff and volunteers wear face masks while at Preble Street sites.

We are working to get as many cloth, reusable face masks as possible. In the meantime, we are asking volunteers to please try to bring one in from home. This video shows how to make one easily with a cloth and two rubber bands.

UPDATE 3/28 | Preble Street is grateful to be working with the University of Southern Maine, Maine Department of Health and Human Services and MaineHousing to host a 50-bed wellness center inside the USM Sullivan Gymnasium as additional space for people currently experiencing homelessness in Portland to practice social distancing.

UPDATE 3/24/20 | While the City of Portland has issued a stay-at-home order, Preble Street provides emergency services and Preble Street volunteers are emergency personnel. Now as much as ever the people we serve need helping hands.

UPDATE 3/23/20 | To be sure we can provide reliable meals in the safest way possible to everyone who depends on Preble Street, the Resource Center Soup Kitchen will be providing all meals to go (beginning Wednesday, 3/25 lunch). There will be no meals served on site. To-Go Meals will be available during regular Soup Kitchen hours, 7 days a week. Food Pantry will be available everyday 1:30-3:00pm. Florence House and Teen Center meals will continue as they are.

UPDATE 3/16/20 | Preble Street COVID-19 Action Plan and Policy Recommendations

UPDATE 3/13/20 | An employee at India Street health clinic tested presumptive positive for coronavirus and the clinic will close for two weeks. We have been informed that the individual who tested positive has had no contact with Preble Street staff or clients.

POSTED 3/12/20

Preble Street is committed to the safety of clients, staff, and volunteers; and to providing essential emergency services to people in need. We are closely monitoring the situation and following the recommendations of experts at state, local, and federal agencies on the best course of action for responsiveness to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As things develop, we will keep you informed and provide guidance as it pertains to public safety and the impact on services we provide.

Our priority is to stay true to our mission, keep our essential programs open, and keep our clients, volunteers, and staff safe.

What Preble Street is doing

  • Coordinating a response with Maine CDC and our community partners including Maine Medical Center, Greater Portland Health, Northern Light Mercy Hospital, the City of Portland, Milestone Recovery, and Through These Doors
  • Meeting with community providers to plan for maintaining the safety of volunteers, staff, and clients in programs that provide essential services such as food and shelter
  • Keeping essential services open
    • Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter and Teen Center drop-in
    • Florence House women’s shelter and apartments
    • Logan Place
    • Huston Commons
    • Food Programs
    • Resource Center targeted services
  • Requiring any person who enters any facility to wash their hands immediately
  • Sanitizing all frequently used surfaces on a regular basis, including bathrooms, phones, and other contacted surfaces
  • Distributing hand sanitizer dispensers at all building entrances and throughout programs
  • Distributing COVID-19 and health/hygiene informational posters throughout all programs
  • Preparing and distributing “to go” meals at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen
  • Limiting guests at Housing First programs
  • Moving beds in shelters to ensure clients are sleeping as far apart as possible
  • Utilizing the City of Portland shelter quarantine at one of their facilities for people in our shelter or soup kitchen who are awaiting test results
  • Consulting public health resources to explore taking temperatures of clients upon arrival
  • Encouraging staff who exhibit cold/flu symptoms to stay home and contact a primary care provider
  • Encouraging clients who are experiencing cold/flu symptoms to contact a primary care provider
  • Sending regular updates to volunteers and requiring volunteers to self-select and suspend their service if they have traveled abroad
  • Sharing facts to help counter stigma and discrimination

In the event of emergencies of any kind, Preble Street staff are on hand at all times to assess the situation and explore solutions. Situations requiring direct support for emergency medical services or police intervention result in a 911 call.

Stop the spread of germs

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Limit all non-essential travel
    • Volunteers who have traveled outside the country in the past two weeks are required to contact Volunteer Manager Ali Brauner before returning to volunteer
      207-775-0026 x 1162
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with antimicrobial soaps and warm water:
    • After blowing nose or coughing/sneezing
    • After using the restroom
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • After eating or preparing food (wash arms, too)
    • After touching your belongings or touching a potentially contaminated surface
    • After taking off gloves from any activity requiring gloves
  • When coughing/sneezing:
    • Cover nose and mouth with a tissue — if no tissue: sneeze/cough into upper sleeve
    • Discard tissue in touchless receptacle
    • Wash hands (see above)

For more information visit or contacted a trusted health professional.