homelessness

Brett Plymale / For Maine Public

The rising incidence of youth homelessness can stay hidden in a rural state like Maine, yet just two years ago, more than 2,500 public school students in the state were reported as homeless or displaced — a significant increase from the numbers seen just two years prior.

Ed Morin / Maine Public

For the 24th year in a row people gathered in Portland Friday on the longest night of the year to remember those from greater Portland's homeless community who have died during the past 12 months. Thirty-six people were remembered, 26 men and 10 women, with an average age of 47.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

“I crashed at friends’ houses for a while. It was a job to find a place to sleep. I slept under bridges, slept in my car when I could...it was, really, whatever I could come up with that day. I’d wake up and my goal would be to find a place to sleep the next day... It made me feel weak, like I wasn’t as good as everyone else because I couldn’t figure it out, I couldn’t figure out how to not be homeless.”

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine is taking stock of homelessness with an annual count.
 
The point-in-time count is set for Tuesday night. The number will serve as a benchmark to determine how many homeless there are in the United States.
 
The Maine State Housing authority says about 6,300 individuals were homeless statewide at some point in 2016.
 
The numbers have been declining. But the shelter in Maine's largest city remains busy.
 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to establish a pilot program to help 50 of Maine’s homeless residents get stable housing and treatment for opioid addiction. A bill presented to the Health and Human Services Committee today drew dozens of supporters during a public hearing. No one opposed the bill, but at least one lawmaker questioned whether it’s the best use of resources to tackle the problem.

Cullen Ryan acting chair of Maine's statewide homeless council
Mal Leary/Maine Public

The latest figures from the Maine Statewide Homeless Council indicate a significant decline in homelessness in Maine with the overall numbers down nine percent. Every year the Council with the help of the Maine State Housing Authority measures the number of Mainers that are homeless and for how long. Cullen Ryan is acting chair of the council.

“Why we have gone down from 7,020 people to 6,373 people, I think we are ticking down in our overall numbers because the economy is improving,” says Cullen Ryan is acting chair of the Maine Statewide Homeless Council.

Homelessness Vigil in Portland
Nora Flaherty/MPBN

Homeless people and advocates will are sitting out all day today to raise awareness of homelessness — and make the point that even in the warmer months, it’s tough.

PORTLAND, Maine - A vigil is being held today in Portland to remember homeless people who have died.  The annual observance  takes place on the the longest night of the year. 

Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann says the vigils are becoming sadder and more frustrating every year. "We've got to do some things different," he says. "It's not just tragic; it's just ridiculous, at this point, that we've got people dying."

Homelessness in the Midcoast Strains Resources

Nov 25, 2015
Jay Field / MPBN

Homelessness in Maine dropped 13 percent over the past year, according to a recent annual report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the point-in-time survey, where data are collected on single nights each winter, has also fluctuated dramatically over the past five years. Two years ago, the same report showed a 26 percent jump in homelessness in Maine.

And despite recent declines, there are now roughly the same number of homeless people in the state as their were in 2010.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Homeless advocates from across the state lined up to support legislation that would provide an additional $3.5 million a year for homeless shelters.

Homelessness

Jan 23, 2014

  Who are the homeless in Maine and how are they being helped? How many people in our state does homelessness affect, and what practical steps can be taken to help?

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by 

Tom McLaughlin, research professor at University of New England 

Mark R. Swann, MSPA, Executive Director, Preble Street 

Tom Ptacek with Homeless Voices for Justice