Dana Charette became homeless last year after a new landlord raised the rent for the Gardiner apartment he’d lived in for six years.
Charette came to Bangor in September for better access to social services, he said Friday. In part, that’s meant the 54-year-old has spent much of his time at the Union Street Brick Church, located at the corner of Union and First streets. An Air Force veteran, Charette has visited the warming center at the former Unitarian church nearly every day since it opened about two months ago.
“It’s been a godsend,” Charette said. “I get one nice hot meal a day here. This also is a good place to come to get out of the cold and have a cup of coffee.”
The church has become the home to more services in recent years. Manna Ministries has operated a soup kitchen and food pantry in the privately owned church since May 2017 but was not able to offer other services.
The latest addition to the available services is a warming center and a program that offers free clothing, toiletries, tents, blankets and snacks to people who are homeless or otherwise in need. Those new services came with the Biker Church USA’s recent move to the building. The organization is now leasing the building from the church’s longtime owner, the Rev. Lee Witting, with an option to buy it. Manna continues to pay rent.
“All the clothes I have on I got here,” Charette said as he sat on the stage in the church. “My shoes and my socks, too.”