UPDATE: New vote on June 7. Take action here.
Today we learned that this Monday, May 17, the Portland City Council will vote whether to implement an immediate Emergency Shelter Moratorium in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland. We need you to call and email the Portland City Council IMMEDIATELY and tell them to vote no on this moratorium.
It’s heartbreaking that during a public health emergency, when the need for safe, professionally run shelters has never been more acute, there are increased efforts to slow or entirely stop the development of shelters. It also can’t go unnoticed that a Monday vote impacting people experiencing homelessness, local service providers, and the public health of our community is being announced on a Friday afternoon.
The numbers don’t lie, and now is NOT the time to add barriers to safe shelter access.
- There are currently dozens of unsheltered people in Portland, and over 400 individuals and families sheltered temporarily in nearby hotels
- In Maine, there has been an 84% increase in veteran homelessness alone since the pandemic began
- The pandemic and affordable housing crisis have extended the amount of time it takes to connect people experiencing homelessness to housing from an average of 86 days to an average of 163 days
At a time when State agencies, cities, and nonprofits need to be working together to support new shelter developments, expand the Housing First model in Maine, and implement a stronger model of care across the health and human service system, instituting a moratorium on new shelters makes no sense.
Slowing the development of shelters in Maine will do nothing but put our most vulnerable neighbors in harm’s way and keep them disconnected from services. People experiencing poverty and homelessness will continue to suffer, our parks and sidewalks will be filled with people who are unsheltered, and the tragic cycle will just grow and continue.
Please share with your networks and contact the City Council TODAY. Thank you for joining us in this effort to protect the people we serve.