ADVOCATING FOR SOLUTIONS
Preble Street is committed to motivating both the public and private will to end hunger, homelessness, and poverty in the lives of our neighbors and to building strong, equitable, and just communities.
Healthy communities depend on dignity, equity, and opportunity for all. In order to end the tragedy of long lines at shelters and soup kitchens, racial injustices, children experiencing hunger, and human trafficking, we must listen to the voices of the people directly impacted by those problems. These individuals are the experts of their own experiences, and we must support their participation in creating and implementing solutions.
Preble Street advocacy efforts work toward solutions to the social, economic, and political systems that have historically perpetuated the inequities of our society. Our advocacy work includes community organizing, policy advocacy, and systems advocacy.
Why do Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Persist?
The issues of hunger, homelessness, and poverty persist in our country because of:
- Intergenerational poverty & wealth disparities
- Structural racism & the continued impact of White Supremacy
- Concentration of wealth into the hands of a few
- Social policies that direct wealth upward
- Disinvestment from social services
- “Bootstraps” mentality
- Impact of COVID-19
The experience of poverty is intergenerational, and poverty is expensive. When a person’s resources are being stretched to make ends meet, any unexpected expense could mean total financial ruin.
We also know that the social systems that shape our society — like white supremacy culture — have tangible effects on homelessness and poverty. In Maine, Black and African American individuals are ten times more likely to experience homelessness than their White peers.
Meanwhile, gentrification is turning Portland and many other Maine towns into places where only the wealthy can afford to live and work, while the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to increase the need for housing and food assistance in our communities. Despite all this, there is a prevailing idea that everyone can just “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” a philosophy that places the blame of homelessness and poverty on the individuals experiencing it rather than the larger systems that perpetrate racial, social, and economic injustices.
The barriers faced by the people we serve are numerous and complex. By focusing on key issues and enacting pertinent legislation during the 131st Legislative Session, we can lessen these barriers and empower the people and communities we serve. Learn more about the priority bills for Preble Street this year.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Significant and ongoing funding is needed to keep Maine’s professional, low-barrier shelters open. On Friday, February 23, 2024, the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs will consider funding for emergency shelters and low-barrier shelters. Please reach out to the AFA committee, using the drafted email below or with a personalized email. You can refer to the bottom of the
We have said before that the reasons why people experience homelessness are complex, but the solutions are not. Ensuring that people can access stable and safe housing and maintain that housing is the solution to homelessness. Preble Street created its Rapid Re-Housing program (RRH) in 2020 to move more people from homelessness to permanent housing.
Art is Healing “Start at the bottom and pinch and turn uncluttered. And slowly work your way up. And you want a pretty thin wall.” It’s a cold Wednesday morning in January, but inside Elena’s Way Wellness Shelter, it’s bright and warm. In the shared area, tables are pulled together, and 10 clients and staff