City to Count Homeless Starting This Evening; “Now Is Not the Time to Eliminate Programs That Help …”, Mayor Brennan

Mayor Michael Brennan: "Now is not the time to eliminate programs that help men, women and families find stable housing or get life saving health care."

By Carol McCracken (Post # l,068)

Portland announced earlier today that tonight it will conduct a search of the city to determine how many men, women and children are experiencing homelessness in the city on this day. The program, known as a Point-in-Time surveys, will be asking questions such as: Who is homeless? What factors led to becoming homeless? What can the city and state do to prevent homelessness? This survey is a requirement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Portland is one of three similar programs in the state and as a result receives $2.9 million in funding from HUD for employment assistance, job training, affordable housing development and emergency shelters. Information gleaned from the survey will be used to direct planning and priorities as identified by the city’s newly formed Taskforce to Develop a Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

“The results we get from tonight’s Pint-inTime survey will be critical as they give a voice to the hundredsof men, women and children experiencing homelessness every night,” said Mayor Michael Brennan. “At a time when resources are diminishing and numbersa re increasing, it is clear that we need to do more for the city’s and state’s most vulnerable. Now is not the time to eliminate programs that help man, women and families find stable housing or get life saving health care. Rather, it is the time to work together and find innovative solutions.” Govenor LePage’s supplemental budget proposal calls for the eliminatio of several programs utilized by the state’s homeless population including Targeted Case Management, a program that helps individuals experiencing homelessness locate and secure stable housing. Last year, this program helped more than found hundred famlilies achieve stable housing, said a press release issued by the city spokeswoman, Nicole Clegg.

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. Due to increasing homelessness and need for emergency shelter, the city in partnership with ZPreble Street has had to expand shelter capacity by opening a community overflow shelter.