Preble Street is committed to providing safe, affordable, permanent housing and support to chronically homeless men and women in Maine. Our services are based on approaches to homelessness and chronic mental illness that have emerged nationally as key strategies for ending homelessness combined with experience gained throughout our nearly 50-year history. Based on a pioneering site-based Housing First model and a strong partnership between Preble Street and Avesta Housing, the success of our landmark housing programs validates a strategy that can end chronic homelessness in Maine and across the nation.
What Housing First Means
The goal of Preble Street Housing First programs Logan Place, Florence House, and Huston Commons is to provide people who have lived in shelters and on the streets for much of their lives with a permanent and safe living situation that will support their stability and independence while offering them a chance for a productive and fulfilling future.
For the first time in 20 years, on March 24, 2005, the day we opened Logan Place, the number of people using the city overnight shelter at Oxford Street decreased. Before that night the Oxford Street Shelter had exceeded its capacity 70% of the time for a year.
In addition, we have documented the economic savings to the community when chronically homeless individuals have their own home. The number of police calls, emergency room visits, medical transports, and jail stays for tenants of Logan Place plummeted, compared to the year before they moved into their apartments.
Even more important are the personal successes at Logan Place, Florence House, and Huston Commons. Individuals who literally lived on the streets for years are now living safe dignified lives in their own homes. Over a third of the tenants have reconnected with family members, some for the first time in over a decade.
We expected some of the tenants to work on sobriety. We expected some to seek and receive mental health services. We expected to have tenants interested in work. All of that has happened. And more.
More Than Affordable Housing
Logan Place, Florence House, and Huston Commons not only provide affordable housing, but also help people live independently, build community, and become good neighbors. They offer:
- independent living in fully equipped efficiency units
- community space on each floor for group and recreational activities
- on-site laundry for tenants
- convenient access to public transportation
Avesta Housing built, owns, and maintains the buildings; Preble Street provides 24-hour support services to ensure that people who are making the transition to permanent independent housing will succeed. Staff:
- monitor the building
- assist in developing and enhancing life skills
- help with activities such as household management, shopping, use of transportation, and meal preparation
- facilitate access to community resources such as health clinics, and mental health and substance use disorder services
Preble Street Housing First programs are based on simple principles — everybody deserves housing and the support necessary to maintain it — and the results are profound and far-reaching.
Florence House provides safe, supported, permanent housing to chronically homeless women in Portland, Maine, as well as a Safe Haven and shelter for women still experiencing homelessness.
The newest addition to the Preble Street Housing First programs, Huston Commons provides safe, permanent housing and essential 24-hour support services, including a medical care room to accommodate regular practitioner hours and telemedicine services for chronically homeless adults, all of whom have disabilities.
Rapid Re-Housing is an evidence-based intervention that uses casework and financial assistance to help individuals and families return to housing quickly and not become homeless again in the near term.
In addition to our Housing First programs, Preble Street also provides housing assistance to veterans. Preble Street Veterans Housing Services (VHS) assists low-income veterans and their families in finding and maintaining stable housing and works to end homelessness among veterans throughout Maine. VHS covers all 16 counties in Maine and has offices in Portland, Lewiston, and Bangor.