April 08, 2020
Portland Latest News | Coronavirus | Bangor Metro | Maine State Police | Today's Paper

Preble Street planning to build temporary shelter in Portland

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Jackson Caruso of Yarmouth volunteers with his family at the Portland nonprofit Preble Street in this 2014 file photo.

PORTLAND, Maine — Plans for a temporary shelter in Maine’s largest city are underway.

Preble Street, a nonprofit resource center for people experiencing homelessness in Portland, told city officials and legislators that it would build a temporary “Wellness Center” as soon as possible.

“We’re also working closely and tirelessly with the State of Maine to get a new, temporary Wellness Shelter up and running as soon as possible,” Executive Director Mark Swann said in a press release.

As Maine’s coronavirus confirmations become concentrated in Cumberland County, the new shelter will help the organization carry out emergency services at other facilities.

The location of the shelter is not yet known. Swann said that one site was “being explored very seriously” but would not be finalized until the organization can secure staffing.

Preble Street operations have been deemed essential services. A Women’s Shelter at Florence House; the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter; the Teen Center; and three housing-first apartments at Logan Place, Huston Commons and Florence House Apartments remain open. Preble Street shifted meal services at its soup kitchen to bag lunches on Wednesday and said it served 350 people over one meal.

The shelter would be partly managed by the Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Housing Authority, though Preble Street will handle the bulk of the staffing.

Additional inquiries to a spokesperson for Preble Street — such as the shelter’s capacity, whether it is an overnight facility or what services and resources it would provide — were not immediately answered.

The organization estimates that 400 to 500 people are homeless in Portland on any given night.


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