The encampment on the Bayside Trail is a visual representation of the fact that we are in the midst of a homelessness crisis, a crisis that is occurring all across Maine, not just here in Portland. It is absolutely devastating that so many people are left living outside and unsheltered due to a massive shortage
Moving out of homelessness
While there is an unquestionable housing and homelessness crisis right now, there are also signs of hope, as illustrated in Erin’s story. The Preble Street Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) program, in partnership with the programs across the agency, has housed 24 individuals since the beginning of the year. Together, these individuals have experienced a combined total of 40 years of homelessness. All of these individuals remain safely housed today.
RRH is a short-term, intensive, housing-focused intervention with three components: housing identification, move-in support, and rent assistance. Participants work with their Preble Street caseworker to create an individualized housing plan with the goal of obtaining a connection to permanent housing as quickly as possible. And support doesn’t end after a client moves in. Caseworkers help individuals maintain housing stability and connect to other resources long after they’re housed.
In recent months, RRH caseworkers have worked with an increasing number of individuals who are chronically homeless. Currently, 52 individuals enrolled in the program have been experiencing homelessness for years. In working with these folks, caseworkers utilize intentionality and flexibility as they account for barriers surrounding mental and psychological health, substance use disorder, and eviction history. Despite these obstacles, caseworkers have successfully connected dozens of formerly chronically homeless individuals to permanent housing.
Landlords willing to work with Preble Street programs are key to getting individuals off the street and into homes. When given the chance, many of the individuals we serve prove to be responsible, reliable tenants, and the support of staff help ensure housing placements are successful. If you are a landlord who wants to learn more about how you can help, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The current lack of resources for people experiencing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and mental health disorders is nothing short of devastating. But as affordable housing and shelter options continue to dwindle, the Rapid Re-Housing program shines a light in the dark, supporting individuals as they reclaim their lives and move from homelessness to opportunity and hope.
Daniella’s relationship with Preble Street began when she was a teen in the 1990s. She donated food to the agency through her school and volunteered in the old Resource Center Soup Kitchen with her family. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be involved in social work. For her senior project in high