Hunger and homelessness are on the rise in our state, leaving thousands of fellow Mainers without enough food and without shelter or housing. Lack of available housing and shelter opportunities leaves many experiencing homelessness with no options other than to shelter outside, which leads to increased interactions with law enforcement and a lack of ongoing connection to resources. Issues of housing and food insecurity, homelessness, and poverty disproportionately impact Mainers of color. A 2020 calculation of people accessing services in ten Preble Street programs showed that 22% are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color) – more than three times the percentage of BIPOC individuals in Maine.
But, there is good news! YOU and your network of family and friends can help us create real change this year. Thanks to House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, and other advocates who serve in the Maine legislature, there are several proposed bills this session offering unique opportunities to address many of these issues and create a better future for everyone who lives here. Preble Street and our partners are advocating for additional resources, support for the people who need it most, and the creation of better systems that will help end hunger, homelessness, and racial inequities.
During the spring of 2023, Preble Street was successful in securing funding becoming available in 2025 for site-based, housing-first programs in 2025. This will extend highly impactful programs, like Homeless Opioid User Service Engagement (H.O.U.S.E.). Our advocacy continues in Spring 2024 with the following initiatives that need your support:
- Expand and improve the emergency shelter system.
- Establish ongoing funding for low barrier shelters statewide.
- Invest in the creation of more site-based, housing-first programs like Florence House, Huston Commons, and Logan Place.
- Support the efforts of Wabanaki Nations surrounding tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
- Address the inequities experienced by black, indigenous, and community members of color at large who are disproportionately impacted by our carceral system.
For a full description of these efforts, click here. As these bills progress through the legislature, we will keep you updated on how to best support your community with information on how/when to testify and who to contact to make your voice heard. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and/or sign up for advocacy alerts to stay informed!
For anyone paying attention over these last few years, it’s become abundantly clear that emergency shelters for people experiencing homelessness are an important part of the public health infrastructure. Shelters didn’t close during the pandemic. Shelter staff and our partners in the healthcare industry did not work remotely. We stayed open, and, in many cases,
Hunger in Maine has grown substantially since the pandemic began and Preble Street is on track to provide over 1 million hot and pantry meals for the third year in a row. Because of this drastic increase in demand for food, Preble Street launched its new Food Security Hub in South Portland, a sustainable, comprehensive,
A vigil to remember friends from the Greater Portland homeless community who have died will take place December 21 at 4:30pm. A crowd will gather in front of the MMC-Preble Street Learning Collaborative at 20 Portland Street and proceed by candlelight to Monument Square. Every year on the Winter Solstice — the longest night of homelessness