Legislative Priorities

Maine Legislature - 130th Legislature, Second Session Priority Bills for Preble Street

The mission of Preble Street 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.

Preble Street is unique in combining direct services with public policy advocacy and education, working relentlessly for social and economic justice. We do this critical work informed by — and in partnership with — the people we serve. We aspire to develop solutions to the systemic problems that lead to hunger, homelessness, and poverty.

The barriers faced by the people we serve are numerous and complex. We believe that by focusing on key issues and enacting the following pieces of legislation during the 130th Legislative Session, we can lessen these barriers and empower the people and communities we serve.

Racial Equity

Preble Street knows that poverty, homelessness, and hunger make no distinctions based on race, but that race does impact the lived experiences of those we serve. To increase awareness and the public will to create more equitable and just communities, we will continue to champion policy that focuses on solutions to the systemic problems causing hunger, homelessness, and poverty through a race equity lens.

LD 1610 would improve the State’s ability to collect, centralize and use data to improve equity in state policy making. This bill directly supports LD2, signed into law by Governor Mills requiring the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process, by mandating the collection of data necessary to create racial equity statements.

LD 1626 would place the tribes in Maine on similar and equal footing to the other 570 federally recognized tribes across the rest of the United States.  This bill would amend the Maine Implementing Act to restore the inherent right of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to self-govern within their respective territories in accordance with the same federal laws that generally govern tribal lands elsewhere.

Anti-Hunger

Hunger is an everyday reality for too many Mainers. Feeding America estimates that 166,910 Mainers are facing hunger — 44,520 of those people are children. Empowering people experiencing hunger and providing food for those who need it are key Preble Street priorities — Preble Street served more than 1 million meals in 2021 for the second year in a row and the Maine Hunger Initiative’s (MHI) work is focused on short and long-term policy strategies to end hunger in Maine.

LD 174, adopts the recommendations of the “Ending Hunger in Maine by 2030 Advisory Group,” convened by LD 1159 in the 129th Maine Legislature. Donna Yellen, Deputy Director of Preble Street, was a member of this Advisory Group and the agency has been engaged with both the process and the articulate recommendations to end hunger in Maine by 2030 including: ensuring all people have consistent access to a variety of culturally appropriate food and addressing systemic changes by eliminating root causes of hunger and food insecurity. 

Shelter/Housing Rights

Shelter and housing are human rights. Preble Street is committed to providing safe, affordable, permanent housing as we continue to meet the immediate shelter needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Maine.

This bill extends LD 1294’s original mandate for an additional two years to conduct a Dignity Pilot program receiving and reporting on how people experiencing homelessness are discriminated against in the state of Maine.

A persistent barrier to shelter and affordable housing are zoning laws and regulations. This bill proposes to adapt the Commission to Increase Housing Opportunities recommendations covering a wide variety of topics including Fair Housing.

Criminal Legal System Reform

Preble Street is in the very early stages of implementing a pilot project through a contract with the Department of Corrections for a Transitional Living Program (TLP) for youth who have been involved with or are at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. We believe that models like this supportive community-based alternative will help meet the need as more youth are released from Long Creek following the recent findings about the violence and trauma inflicted in that facility.   We would like to drive forward the dialogue of what positive, future-oriented solutions can look like, and we are able to offer a clear example of what this can look like in our community.

LD 546 seeks to implement several changes as recommended by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, including the reduction of the number of detained youths, sustaining the ongoing task force’s mandate for strategic interventions, and continuing the legal obligation for a robust reporting process for legislative oversight. This bill is also asking for recommendations on additional therapeutic residence sites for the future, ongoing funding for nonprofit community-based providers, and spending on diversion programs.  It seeks an additional two million dollars from DOC and HHS budgets to fund these initiatives. 

Take Action!

CURRENT ACTION: Tell Senator Collins to support the Freedom to Vote Act!

In light of the anniversary of the assault on U.S. democracy on January 6, 2020 and the upcoming celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, please write or call Senator Susan Collins and urge her to support the Freedom to Vote Act! This critical legislation will address voter registration and voting access, election integrity and security,

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Solstice vigil honors lives lost in homeless community

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Winter Solstice to honor the lives of the 51 people in Portland’s homeless community who died this year. Learn more at preblestreet.org/vigil. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wfq12bEWhg Solstice vigil honors lives lost in homeless communityBy Rachel Ohm, Portland Press HeraldOn Tuesday night, the crowd lit candles and marched together to

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CURRENT ACTION: Say YES to Build Back Better!

The Senate is set to vote on The Build Back Better package, which includes crucial investments in families, child nutrition, healthcare and affordable housing. Tell Susan Collins to support this critical legislation! Build Back Better will: save most American families more than half of their spending on childcare deliver two years of free preschool for

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