Preble Street

Tom Porter / Maine Public/file

Homeless shelters around Maine are preparing for an influx of people needing a bed for the night as temperatures plummet to dangerous levels.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's U.S. senators say the federal government is providing more than $2 million to a Portland organization that serves the homeless population.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King say the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is awarding the money to Preble Street. The organization helps the homeless community, including but not limited to veterans, with issues such as housing and food.

PORTLAND, Maine - A new study finds Mainers are increasingly relying on food pantries for survival, and not for emergencies.

One in four respondents to a survey commissioned by hunger relief agencies reported being dropped from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program in the past year.

The groups behind the study say those kicked off food stamps due to restrictions instituted by Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration are now relying on overworked charities. LePage claims his administration has gotten welfare recipients into jobs.

Homelessness : Finding Solutions

Nov 24, 2016

This is a re-broadcast of our earlier show; no calls will be taken.

A look at some of the solutions that local organizations are finding to reduce homelessness in Maine.  (Original broadcast date 10/12/16)

Guests:  Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street in Portland

Stephanie Primm, executive director of Hospitality House in Rockland

Homelessness: Finding Solutions

Oct 12, 2016

Despite discouraging news headlines about homelessness, some innovative Maine organizations have had meaningful success in reducing homelessness and improving the lives of the homeless population.  We’ll learn about these solutions and what it would take to expand them.

Guests:  Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street in Portland

Stephanie Primm, executive director of Hospitality House in Rockland

PORTLAND, Maine - A day before a deadline set by Portland police, most or all of the people living in a longtime homeless encampment on privately-owned land behind a shopping center near Westbrook have moved on.

Police department officials said yesterday that camp residents would have until tomorrow to clear out - and then police would start issuing trespass warnings.

Homeless organizations have been working with residents for some time, trying to bring them into the shelter system, or get them vouchers for reduced-price housing.

There's opposition to a plan by Portland city councilors to close the city's overflow shelter for the homeless. Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street, is a leader of the effort.
"We think the city has made a bad decision," Swann said, "and they've made it prematurely without all the facts and they've made it without planning."

The overflow shelter has 75 beds. Swann says those beds have been filled every night. He says without the shelter, more homeless will sleep on streets, in doorways, and at other outdoor locations.

PORTLAND, Maine_As the media compile their retrospectives of the notable events and people of 2014,  homeless advocates in Portland and Lewiston are remembering those died.

FILE: A Panhandler on the side of a street in Portland
Patty Wight/Maine Public

The city of Portland has been at the center of the storm over the issue of panhandling, but other Maine communities are also grappling with it and discussing whether to put limits on people soliciting money from passers-by. In Portland, a ban on panhandling from median strips was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year and now the city is appealing that ruling. In Augusta last week, the police chief made news by using a cardboard sign to stage his own anti-panhandling protest.