Topic: Veterans Housing Services

2nd Annual David A. Zysk Memorial Scholarship

University of Southern Maine MSW student and Preble Street Veterans Housing Services Supervisor Erin Kelly has been selected as the second ever David A. Zysk Memorial Scholarship recipient.

Preble Street created the scholarship to honor the life and contributions of Clinical Intervention Program Case Manager David Zysk, who passed away in 2015. Each year $1,000 is awarded to one staff member or intern enrolled in a degree program who lives out David’s ideal of “meeting people where they’re at.”

The following excerpt from Erin’s scholarship application illustrates how she embodies David’s legacy:

The ways in which Preble Street has shaped my world view can be summed up with one of my favorite quotes from Harry Potter: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” There are many people at Preble Street who are suffering, and life for them is difficult and often traumatic. Clients face mental illness, physical disability, substance use disorders, and poverty. My work at Preble Street has highlighted structural inequalities and the multitude of injustices that exist in the context of American society. But through all of this, my clients have inspired me and awed me with their resilience. There are clear moments of joy—moments when people walk into their new apartment for the first time, or when they find that they are getting a life-changing increase in income. But I have also found that it is important to look for the joy in the smaller, more difficult moments as well. These moments can be the first time a client shows up sober to a showing, or the moment when you realize that you have finally forged a trusting relationship with someone after a year of trying, or just being able to sit next to a client in the courtyard because they are simply too weary to walk any farther.

Congratulations, Erin, and thank you for your service to the Preble Street mission!

VA awards Preble Street $2.1 million

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Preble Street more than $2 million to provide housing for the state’s veteran homeless population.

Preble Street Veterans Housing Services (VHS) assists veterans and their families to find and maintain stable housing and works to end homelessness among veterans throughout Maine. The team covers all 16 of the state’s counties with offices in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, and Machias. Maine has the third highest percentage of veterans in the country—the flexible models employed by VHS are critical to meet the range of needs, resources, and situations of veterans living in both rural and urban areas of a large state.

“The VA’s continued funding of VHS has a tremendous impact on veteran families experiencing homelessness throughout Maine,” says VHS Program Manager Rob Liscord. “This grant will allow us to solidify our important successes and continue to collaborate with community partners across the state to address the needs of Maine’s veteran families experiencing homelessness, and the stressors associated with a lack of safe and affordable shelter, food, and healthcare.”

In 2016, VHS worked with 335 Veteran Households—a total of 556 individual clients—including homeless families with children. Recent successes include:

  • 101 homeless veterans housed across Maine (Jan-Sep 2017)
  • 46% drop in average length of homelessness among veterans (Jan-Sep 2017)
  • 42% drop in chronic homelessness among veterans (over past year)

“Despite the great progress made in addressing veteran homelessness, the need for assistance remains great as we’ve seen a jump in the number of requests this very quarter compared to last year,” Rob continued. “It’s a privilege to work every day to ensure that veteran homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring, but there’s still a need to address the issues of poverty that lead to homelessness such as lack of healthcare, access to food, and sufficient income.”

Curbside: News from Preble Street Spring 2017

The spring 2017 edition of Curbside: News from Preble Street hit homes this week. Did you receive a copy? If not, you can read it below, and sign up here for future issues.

Mainers Helping Mainers: A Preble Street Year in Review

Watch our Year in Review video, featuring some of the friends and neighbors who stepped up to make a difference in 2016!

Every day at Preble Street, the community comes together to help Mainers move forward to better lives, giving their time, their energy, their money, their voices, and their hearts.

Your donation to Preble Street does more than ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community make it through another day. Your support empowers brave, determined people to break the cycle of homelessness by finding work, studying hard, never giving up, learning new skills, finding their voices, reuniting with family, and reaching their goals.

Most of all it helps them hold on to hope during their darkest hours.

Please join us this year in growing our community of giving hands and grateful hearts.

A call for action from Dr. Peter Bates

Each year on the longest night of homelessness, Preble Street, Homeless Voices for Justice, community leaders and concerned neighbors gather for the annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil to remember our homeless friends who have died and recommit ourselves to the task of ending homelessness.

So far in 2016, 32 people living in Portland, Maine, have died without homes.

“As a doctor, I know that if this were a new disease in a new community there would be a rampant call for action. And the fact that there isn’t always makes me sad, but also tells me how much work there is to do,” Dr. Peter Bates, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Maine Medical Center about the urgent need to find solutions to homelessness during this year’s vigil on December 21, 2016.

Join us for the Longest Night of Homelessness!

Each year on the longest night of homelessness, Preble Street, Homeless Voices for Justice, community leaders and concerned neighbors gather for the annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil to remember our homeless friends who have died and recommit ourselves to the task of ending homelessness.

Join us on Wednesday, December 21, at 4 pm for a candlelight procession starting at the Preble Street Resource Center, and proceeding to Monument Square for a ceremony dedicated to those persons who have died in our community.

Welcome, 2016-17 Interns!

Front Row: Ben Richards; USM, Kelly Gayle; USM, Alyssa Wade; UNE, Katy Finch; UNE, Naomi Abrams USM, Melissa Towle; UNE, Rachel Andreasen; USM, Kendra Page; UNE. Back Row: Brad Hammond; USM, Mark, Jen Dorval; USM, Sarah Carr, Jesuit Volunteer, Tim Bates; USM, Nicole Sutherland; USM, Amber Clark; USM, Justin Brown; USM.

Front Row: Ben Richards; USM, Kelly Gayle; USM, Alyssa Wade; UNE, Katy Finch; UNE, Naomi Abrams USM, Melissa Towle; UNE, Rachel Andreasen; USM, Kendra Page; UNE. Back Row: Brad Hammond; USM, Mark, Jen Dorval; USM, Sarah Carr, Jesuit Volunteer, Tim Bates; USM, Nicole Sutherland; USM, Amber Clark; USM, Justin Brown; USM.

Preble Street is incredibly excited to welcome its 2016-17 class of social work interns.

This prestigious and competitive social work placement opportunity has been key to meeting the Preble Street mission since it was founded by Joe Kreisler, chair of the University of Southern Maine social work department. The Preble Street internship program has trained more than 400 social workers in its more-than-40-year history. Expanding from a placement opportunity for USM social work students, the applicant pool has grown over the years to include students from University of Maine Augusta, University of New England, St. Joseph’s College, Lesley University, Boston College, and Southern Maine Community College.

Farewell, 2015-16 Interns!

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams, founder of the social work profession

2016 Intern Reception 197 crop

Preble Street bid farewell last week to its 2015-16 class of social work interns.

This prestigious and competitive social work placement opportunity has been key to meeting the Preble Street mission since it was founded by Joe Kreisler, chair of the University of Southern Maine social work department. The Preble Street internship program has trained more than 400 social workers in its more-than-40-year history. Expanding from a placement opportunity for USM social work students, the applicant pool has grown over the years to include students from University of Maine Augusta, University of New England, St. Joseph’s College, Lesley University, Boston College, and Southern Maine Community College.

Pictured: Kara Auclair, University of New England; Olivia Testa, University of New England; Nicole Fish, University of Southern Maine; Mary Beth Sullivan, Preble Street Logan Place Supervisor; Joe Guglielmetti, University of Southern Maine; Jean Claude Kramo, University of Maine Augusta. Middle Row: Patty Robinson, Preble Street Florence House Coordinator; Kara McCabe, University of New England; Brittney Dunham, Preble Street Resource Center Caseworker; Kayla Harding, University of Southern Maine; Hillary Colcord, Preble Street CLIP Supervisor; Mariah Corbett, University of Southern Maine Back Row: Jon Bradley, Preble Street Associate Director; Mark Swann, Preble Street Executive Director; Maxine Bleau, University of New England; Becky Hadley, Preble Street Florence House Supervisor; Sara Cyr-Jordan, Preble Street Florence House Housing Support Staff; Caroline Fernandes, Preble Street Logan Place Coordinator; Nick Meintel, University of Southern Maine; Steven Doyle, University of Southern Maine.

Big Week for Veterans Housing Services

It’s been an exciting week for Preble Street Veterans Housing Services.

First, we learned that VHS—a statewide partnership between Preble Street and Pine Tree Legal Assistance—received another $1,683,966 Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help serve homeless veterans in Maine.

Then on Thursday night Bangor Area Homeless Shelter honored VHS as an “Outstanding Community Partner” at the agency’s annual meeting.

VHS works to end homelessness among veterans by helping low-income vets and their families find and maintain affordable, stable housing and working with landlords to place homeless vets in housing.

Learn more about VHS here.

Preble Street welcomes new interns

Preble Street internship program has accepted 15 masters, bachelors and associate students to its social work programs for the 2015-16 school year.

This prestigious and competitive social work placement opportunity has been key to the meeting the Preble Street mission since it was founded by Joe Kreisler, chair of the University of Southern Maine social work department. The Preble Street internship program has trained more than 400 social workers in its 40-year history. Expanding from a placement opportunity for USM social work students, the applicant pool has grown over the years to include students from University of Maine Augusta, University of New England, St. Joseph’s College, Lesley College, Boston College, and Southern Maine Community College.