According to a city announcement Thursday, donations to Portland emergency shelters for the homeless are down “by as much as a third compared to years past.”
(For background reading, recent BDN stories about various programs or subjects involving Portland’s homeless population:
- Health Care for the Homeless Clinic patients worry about MaineCare cuts
- Army veterans plan third annual Christmas dinner for area homeless
- Saco facility helps homeless veterans rebuild lives
- Preble Street to relocate and expand teen homeless shelter )
The city’s Thursday outreach noted that on any given night, about 350 people fill the six overnight shelters in Portland. The items needed, especially during cold weather like what we’ve been experiencing, include new blankets, coat vests, gloves, mittens, hats scarves, earmuffs, long underwear and warm winter socks.
Other items in need are towels, backpacks, rain gear, underwear, flip fops, and toiletries. To donate, or to learn more about city services for the homeless, call 761-2072. If you, as an individual, are currently homeless or are facing the possibility of becoming homeless, call 775-6315. And finally, you represent a family experiencing homeless or on the verge, call 772-8339.
The city also states, in part, that “with the beginning of the downturn in the economy four years ago, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness within the city has increased by twenty percent.”
Here’s a prepared statement by Mayor Michael Brennan on the subject:
More than two decades ago, I was pleased to be a part of the community pledge that no one in need of shelter would have to sleep on the streets. The city has done its best to keep this promise by providing emergency shelter and primary healthcare to people experiencing or in danger of becoming homeless. But to truly create a safety net for the people who need it most, all oars, be it city, state, businesses, nonprofits or volunteers, must be pulling in the same direction.