BANGOR, Maine — Food, blankets, soap and toothbrushes are things most Mainers take for granted.
But for homeless people struggling with chemical dependency problems, those and other essential supplies can be hard to come by.
Thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Penobscot Valley Health Association Fund, the men and women who take part in Hope House’s day program now have access to more of life’s basics. Penobscot Community Health Care, which operates Hope House, said the one-year grant would benefit 200 people served through Hope House’s day program.
Hope House, which opened in 1973, is the largest homeless shelter of its kind in eastern Maine. It changed hands earlier this summer when it was acquired from The Acadia Hospital, which had owned and operated it since 1999.
Located on Indiana Avenue, the facility not only offers hot meals and showers to homeless drug and alcohol addicts, it also provides transitional housing and an array of medical, counseling and other services. It has become a haven for some of society’s most vulnerable men and women.
Its day program offers homeless people a safe haven from the streets, therapy and skill-building groups, direct access to the on-site medical team, assistance with social services and support in moving to transitional or permanent housing.
Many of the homeless served by Hope House have a complex set of physical and mental health, substance abuse and social problems that must be worked on simultaneously.
The day program aims to engage the local homeless population who live outside during the year by linking them with the health and support services they need to re-engage in the community.
“We hope to enhance what is already at the shelter,” Hope House Director Mike Andrick said shortly after receiving word of the grant.
“Helping these people develop a plan is a major factor in securing employment, which helps them with the money needed to acquire stable housing. And that is the No. 1 goal of the shelter staff,” he said.