Celebrating advocacy wins

Low-barrier shelters receive funding for the next three years...

On April 22, 2024, Governor Janet Mills signed the supplemental budget into law, which includes three years of $2.5M in annual funding — a total of $7.5M — to directly support emergency low-barrier shelters. This funding will be incredibly impactful for Maine’s five privately operated, low-barrier shelters.
Low-barrier shelters in Maine face a growing yearly budget deficit, and this critical funding will help address this gap and keep shelters open and staffed for Mainers across the state. We want to thank the many people and partners who worked together to make this possible! 

Affordable Housing & Rent Relief

The final supplemental budget includes a significant investment directed at affordable housing as well as a rent relief pilot program to alleviate Maine’s housing crisis. 

The budget contains a total of $76M in affordable housing investments, which include funding for emergency housing, $10M in low-income housing credits, and $10M for the state’s Affordable Homeownership and Rural Affordable Rental Housing programs. 

Also included in this supplemental budget is $18M for a rent relief pilot program to ease the financial burden of rent payments for individuals and families who don’t qualify for other programs, like Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8). Eligible participants receive up to $800 a month for 24 months for rent relief, reducing evictions and the Section 8 waitlist while affordable housing units and programs, like the ones mentioned above, come online. 

Maine Office of New Americans

On Monday, April 22, Governor Mills also signed into law the establishment of the Maine Office of New Americans. 

The focus of this office will be to seamlessly integrate and introduce new Mainers into local communities, economies, and the workforce. Key tenets of the Office’s plan are…

  • Strengthening English-language acquisition opportunities 
  • Building workforce pathways and support for entrepreneurs
  • Improving coordination of organizations and entities that support immigrants
    • This includes communities, schools, and employers, engaging in federal immigration policies to benefit Maine.
  • Improving Maine’s data about its immigrant populations.
Read more about the plan for the Office of New Americans here.

Wabanaki tribal courts granted self-jurisdiction

On April 22, Governor Mills also signed into LD-2007. This bill modernizes several of the important provisions to the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, signed into law in 1980, specifically restoring the criminal jurisdiction of tribal courts. 

This bill specifically addresses restoring criminal jurisdiction to tribal courts. This bill enshrines the rights of the Wabanaki Nations for exclusive jurisdiction for misdemeanor and some felony crimes that occur on tribal lands and that only involve members of the tribal community.

A 2022 report from the Harvard Project on Indigenous Governance and Development found that strong tribal courts are essential to self-governance for tribal nations, indicating that strong tribal courts help tribal nations in meeting the needs of their citizens. 

Indeed, the passage of this bill will aid in fostering safer tribal communities better equipped to deal with mental and medical health crises, like the opioid epidemic. The passage of this bill is an important first step in promoting and ensuring Wabanaki sovereignty.

Read more about LD-2007 at the Wabanaki Alliance’s website here.

Why is the passage of the Office of New Americans & LD-2007 important?

Preble Street’s mission is to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty and to advocate for solutions to these problems.

The core of this mission is compassion, community, and equity. 

Support for New Mainers, creating pathways to employment, education, and citizenship, and Wabanaki sovereignty, respecting the rights of indigenous people and foundational aspects of self-governance, are inherent to the pursuit of equity in the State of Maine. 

URGENT – We need ongoing funding for low-barrier shelters!

Maine is experiencing a homelessness crisis, and our critical low-barrier shelters may close without sustainable and ongoing funding. The Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs just approved one-time funding for low-barrier shelters. We thank the AFA Committee for their support; however, emergency and low-barrier shelters need ongoing, annual funding to remain open and operational. We need

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A Busy 131 Legislative Session for Preble Street

Advocacy has been embedded into the Preble Street mission since our founding in 1975. In tandem with our Site-based Housing First programs, the Food Security Hub, Rapid Re-Housing and many other programs, Preble Street conducts advocacy and policy work through multiple channels to address homelessness, hunger, and poverty. Our advocacy includes community organizing, with events

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Pass LD 2007: When the Wabanaki Thrive, We all Thrive

We are proud to submit the testimony below to the Judiciary Committee and stand in alignment with the Wabanaki Alliance. Dear Senator Carney, Representative Moonen, and members of the Judiciary Committee, My name is Terence Miller and I am the Advocacy Director at Preble Street. I am writing to testify in support of LD 2007:

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