Maine Gets $3 Million To Study Youth Homelessness

Aug 29, 2019

Maine has received more than $3 million in federal grant funding to study youth homelessness and find new strategies to address the problem.

Chris Bicknell, the executive director of the Lewiston nonprofit New Beginnings, says the money will allow stakeholders, including state officials and youth, to take a comprehensive look at what’s happening statewide.

Cecilia Sirianni is the outreach services coordinator for RSU 57 in Waterboro. She's working with Savannah, a student who became homeless and doubled-up with a friend last fall.
Credit Brett Plymale / For Maine Public

“We really want to look at, what are the numbers of youth are experiencing homelessness in those communities? What are their needs? And then how can we meet those?” he says. “There’s a real nice opportunity to look at the depth and breadth of what we do and improve on that. It’s really building on what works well, and then trying some really creative strategies.”

Bicknell says that a particular focus for the effort will be how to reach homeless youth in Maine’s rural communities, which are lacking in resources.

According to the National Center on Homeless Education, the number of homeless youth enrolled in public schools in Maine grew by more than 30 percent from 2015 to 2017.

Originally published Aug. 29, 2019 at 4:06 p.m. ET.