Act now to save 40 people from living outside this winter

The only thing standing between 40 human beings and warmth, safety, food, and professional social work services this winter is permission from the City of Portland to convert a Preble Street day shelter into a 24/7 Wellness Shelter.

Preble Street is on the agenda of the City of Portland Planning Board this Tuesday, October 20 for its conditional use application to turn the site of the Resource Center into a new, best practice 24/7 Wellness Shelter, like the highly successful shelter we operated at the University of Southern Maine Sullivan Gym over the summer. Each person will have their own bed and will work with a professional caseworker toward housing and other individual goals.

Approval from the Planning Board is the only difference between living outside or in dignified shelter for 40 of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Preble Street is not requesting any funds from the City. The building is owned by Preble Street, zoned to allow for emergency shelter, and has sheltered 75 people regularly for many years when Preble Street donated this facility to the City of Portland as its overflow space for the Oxford Street Shelter.

If you don’t want more people to endure sleeping outside this winter, email

I respectfully request that the City of Portland Planning Board approve the Preble Street conditional use application in order that its facility at 5 Portland Street undergo renovations needed for a new 24/7 Wellness Shelter. With so many people sleeping outside during a public health emergency and as winter approaches, this initiative is desperately needed. Preble Street is not asking for City funds and is only seeking Planning Board approval for necessary COVID-informed renovations to the building. Please do not leave people out in the cold.

Thank you for lending your voice to ensure more people have warmth and safety this winter and beyond.