Advocacy

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, 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  
  • Gentrification   
  • 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.  

Legislative Priorities - Maine Legislature

The barriers faced by the people we serve are numerous and complex. By focusing on key issues and enacting pertinent legislation during the 130th 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.

Homeless Voices for Justice

Homeless Voices for Justice is a state-wide, grassroots, social change movement, organized and led by people with lived experience of homelessness.

Maine Hunger Initiative

The Maine Hunger Initiative is a collaborative effort to meet immediate food needs while creating long-term solutions to hunger.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Tell the City of Portland to fund shelter and food security!

The City of Portland is giving YOU a voice in how they spend millions of dollars in Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Participate in their poll and tell them that shelter and food security need to be priorities! The lack of supportive shelters and a shortage of affordable housing have created a crisis

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Tell Maine Senators Collins and King to support the Eviction Crisis Act!

The affordable housing crisis, inflation in the cost of basic necessities, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have created a homelessness and eviction crisis in Maine and across the United States. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado has introduced a bill to address this growing issue. Join us in asking Senator Susan Collins and Senator

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Mental Health and Homelessness

Behind the struggles faced by many of the people Preble Street serves are fundamentally broken mental health and shelter systems. Living in high-stress situations on the streets or in crowded shelters with limited access to treatment makes people experiencing homelessness particularly vulnerable to chronic mental health issues and co-occurring substance use disorders. Earlier this month,

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