On Friday, October 27 in the Preble Street Soup Kitchen, Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ) hosted its annual Candidates’ Forum, this year featuring all eight district 4, 5, and at-large City Council candidates for Portland. A Q&A session followed brief presentations by the candidates.
HVJ’s annual You Don’t Need a Home to Vote Campaign has organized more than 60 candidates’ forums at shelters and soup kitchens across Maine for federal, state, and municipal level candidates and registered more than 2,350 voters who access meals at soup kitchens and sleep in homeless shelters or outside in camps—as well as youth at the Long Creek Youth Development Center.
This year, the forum related to HVJ’s Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign, a new initiative to establish state legislation providing civil protections for people experiencing homelessness. The conversation focused on Portland-specific issues including homelessness, affordable housing, and poverty.
“This is a chance to meet the people who want your vote, and ask questions that are important to you,” said HVJ advocate Cheryl Harkins.