What can you do in one year? A look at Preble Street impacts in 2023: Curbside Winter 2023/24

Three Preble Street programs celebrated their first year of operation in 2023!

Elena’s Way, a Preble Street Wellness Shelter

Elena’s Way serves the needs of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, individuals unable to access other shelter services, and individuals who are extremely vulnerable should they be unsheltered.

At Elena’s Way, guests have control of their own time and space. They can eat and sleep when they want. They have a stable, safe place to stay and keep their belongings. Casework and medical care are provided on-site to support clients in reaching their housing, employment, and health goals.

In 2023, Elena’s Way:

  • Served 75 clients
  • Connected 9 individuals to permanent housing
  • Provided 9,054 bed nights to individuals who have otherwise struggled to remain sheltered or housed

Top: High ceilings and general spaciousness provide a sense of calm and quiet that is atypical of traditional shelter settings. Bottom: Staff and clients celebrated the one-year anniversary of Elena’s Way.

Top: GPH and Preble Street staff celebrating the one-year anniversary of the program. Bottom: Art and other activities help with the healing process for clients!

Recuperative Care

Greater Portland Health (GPH), Preble Street, and Maine Medical Center (MMC) partnered to create Maine’s first recuperative care program providing a space for people experiencing homelessness to rest, heal, and connect with medical care and social work providers after being released from a hospital stay.

This innovative and cutting-edge program is hosted in GPH’s Federally Qualified Health Center in Portland and offers patients 24/7 recuperative care and case management.

In its first year, this program:

  • Served 83 clients
  • Helped 20 individuals secure permanent or supportive housing
  • Provided 3,323 bed nights – nights that a person was able to sleep inside in a bed and recuperate rather than on the streets

Teen Services Street Outreach

This past year, Preble Street also launched a street outreach program targeted to unsheltered youth under the age of 21. Rooted in harm-reduction and trauma-informed care to build bridges for youth to access community resources and provide basic-need resources in-the-moment, this team has outreach routes in Sanford, Biddeford, and Portland.

Last year, the Outreach team:

  • Built relationships with 45 youth
  • Connected 12 youth with more sustainable living solutions, including three family reunifications
  • Made 6 housing vouchers or transitional living connections

Meeting Maine’s Food Needs

Renovations of the Preble Street Food Security Hub (FSH) will get underway soon! Today, the FSH team is able to prepare up to 2000 meals each day. Once the renovations are complete, we’ll be able to prepare as many as 10,000 meals daily, as well as store up to 50,000 frozen meals thanks to expanded freezer capacity. The fully renovated FSH will also feature a food processing lab to take advantage of the short growing season in Maine and more local, organic, and healthier foods.  Construction on the first phase should take about one year but will dramatically impact Maine’s ability to respond to food insecurity over the next 25 years.

100 Veterans Housed in 100 Days!

The No Homeless Veterans Challenge kicked off in August with an event featuring U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, Senator Angus King, and Representative Chellie Pingree. With a goal of ultimately ending Veteran homelessness in Maine by June of 2025, Preble Street is working with other organizations that serve Veterans on this solvable problem. Thank you to the many Mainers, especially landlords, who helped us reach our goal of housing 100 Veterans in 100 days!

Update: The Challenge continues – learn more about how you can help homeless Veterans!

Health Equity Launch

Thanks to funding from a grant from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Preble Street continues to work to advance race equity and inclusion. We are working to better understand how health disparities affect BIPOC communities, ensure that Preble Street programs are designed for and accessible to everyone regardless of their ethnic background, and to engage community partners in addressing the root causes of health disparities affecting the BIPOC population.

One of the most impactful parts of this work is the BIPOC Client Assistance Fund (CAF), which supports the one-time, immediate needs of BIPOC clients seeking financial stability. More than half of the funding awarded through the BIPOC CAF has been able to support housing and rent payments and healthcare expenses.

Thank you, Volunteers!

Volunteers are critical to everything we do! When they help to prepare meals at the Food Security Hub, work in the kitchens at Florence House, the Teen Center, or the City of Portland’s Homeless Services Center, or sort donations at the Receiving Center, their efforts truly contribute to every single Preble Street program. As of October 31, 890 people volunteered for Preble Street for more than 8,800 hours.