Responding to Winter Weather

Update 2/2/2023: Warming shelters will be available in the Portland area from Friday February 3 to Sunday February 5. The City of Portland, along with community partners and volunteers, will staff a temporary overnight shelter at the Salvation Army’s gymnasium at 297 Cumberland Avenue. The overnight warming shelter will be available from 3pm on Friday, February 3 to 8am Saturday, February 4; and from 3pm Saturday, February 4 to 8am Sunday, February 5. 

In Portland, daytime warming shelter spaces will be available at the Portland Public Library Downtown branch at 5 Monument Square from 10am to 5:00pm on weekdays and 10am to 3pm on Saturday as well as at the First Parish Church at 425 Congress Street, which will be open from 8am to 4pm on Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4. 

Shelters are a vital part of the public health system – this is true at any time of the year, but especially during these cold winter months. For people who are unsheltered, snow and freezing temperatures bring even greater challenge and uncertainty to their daily lives. To provide additional safeguards for people experiencing homelessness this winter, Preble Street is working on multiple fronts.

We are consistently working to ensure that more people have a safe and warm place to sleep. Preble Street is currently sheltering people at our youth and women’s shelters, as well as at the Elena’s Way Wellness Shelter.

Additionally, the Preble Street Street Outreach Collaborative provides outreach services 7 days a week to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Portland and works to connect them to shelter, housing, warm clothing, food, healthcare, and other critical needs (click here for the Street Outreach Collaborative schedule). Staff from Preble Street Health Services, Teen Services, and Veterans Housing Services also do outreach in Portland and throughout Maine to ensure people experiencing homelessness are connected to lifesaving shelter and services.

In preparation for the frigid weather expected this week, there will be a Warming Shelter organized by Greater Portland Peer Services on Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4 at the First Parish Church at 425 Congress Street (between City Hall and Monument Square). The Warming Shelter will be open between 8am to 4 pm.

The current lack of shelter and affordable housing in our state is tragic, and the result of a broken system. At the local, state, and federal levels, we must come together to provide professionally-run and dignified accessible shelters, affordable housing and more Housing First programs, and expanded services for physical and behavioral health and substance use disorders.i