Conference on Homelessness

Preble Street Conference on Homelessness:
Solutions Start with ME

Homelessness is a crisis and is continuing to escalate throughout Maine. This crisis is driven by a wide range of complex factors including a lack of affordable housing and accessible emergency shelter, minimal shelter funding, an increase in unsheltered individuals, and rising numbers of people needing support for managing substance use disorders and behavioral health issues. 

New effective strategies and systemic changes are needed to meet the growing challenges in Maine. This 2nd Conference, Solutions Start with ME, provides an opportunity to hear from leaders doing similar work in other parts of the country. Through collective action, we hope to have greater impact for the most vulnerable people in our community.  

Join Preble Street, the Atlantic Charitable Foundation, and other key stakeholders throughout the state – state and local government, nonprofits, faith leaders, funders, people with lived experience, and business leaders – to collectively focus on critical solutions for Maine to tackle this growing issue.  

Be in the room where it happens...

At the 2022 Preble Street Conference on Homelessness, Greg Payne, the senior advisor on Housing Policy for the Governor of Maine, called for the adoption of more Housing First programs, like Preble Street’s Logan Place, Florence House, and Huston Commons. “The problem is that the pace at which we are getting these desperately needed and highly successful properties up and running is not nearly good enough,” said Payne.

“I think that the question should become less about anticipating the fifth Housing First project in Maine in 2030, but instead focusing on opening the next ten, eleven, or twelve housing-first properties in the next five or six years. We should focus on prioritizing this… I think that we can achieve it.” 

The Results:

On Tuesday, July 11, 2023, Governor Janet Mills signed into law a historic budget package, which contains funding for the Food Security Hub, emergency shelters, affordable housing, and Site-based Housing First! The Conference on Homelessness brought together community leaders, members, and key members of local and state legislature and propelled forward conversations on actionable solutions to addressing Maine’s most critical and relevant issues. 

 So many people from Preble Street played role in securing these legislative wins, and The Conference on Homelessness was a pivotal moment in the journey to persuading legislators and advancing our mission. These wins and the conference took the collective hard work and strategic efforts of staff, clients, tenants, legislators, and many other friends of the agency who made it known that providing resources for Mainers, who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, and hunger, is a priority for our state. 

Read the article linked here for a recap of the 2022 Conference: Conference on Homelessness: We’re not alone in this work – Preble Street.