Maine Statewide Homeless Council

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of Maine's congregate settings, including homeless shelters, which have had to reduce capacity.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

According to federal data released earlier this month, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Maine dropped by more than 15 percent from 2018 to last year. But housing advocates say those numbers are misleading — and that decline actually reflects the fact that fewer people received some state services.

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.