When I saw this headline in the paper, I knew I’d have some explaining to do:
If you're wondering why on earth five councilors would vote to violate our own ordinance, you're not alone. Here's the explanation.
Over the last two-and-a-half years we've been discussing homelessness in Portland front and center and in great detail at the HHS & PS Committee. We've had many difficult conversations to date, and I expect we have many more ahead.
That's why as we near a decision on the site selection for the new Homeless Services Center, I want to take a moment to celebrate some of the wonderful partnerships that have grown out of this process. Shining a light on the challenges of our current system has inspired multiple new community collaborations. These partnerships will help us, as a community, reach the goals set by the Council back in 2011 when it created a task force to develop a strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness in Portland, Maine. I'm pleased and proud that this process has helped move us closer to that aim.
On two separate occasions (July 2018 and April 2019), I created two separate timelines to illustrate the shelter process that has taken place since I joined the HHS & PS Committee in 2016. It's important to note that discussions about the current shelter system in the city and the need for improvements pre-date my election to the council, so these timelines don't represent the full shelter planning process in Portland. They do, however, give a good overview of what's happened at the committee and council level over the last three-and-a-half years.
After our most recent HHS & PS committee meeting on March 26th, I spoke with a resident who wanted to know how we’d gotten from a list of nearly 700 parcels to the 3 sites we are currently considering as potential locations for the city’s new Homeless Services Center. In response to her question, I decided to create a “Part Two” to my Micro-Timeline of the Oxford Street Shelter replacement process.
For Micro-Timeline: Part Deux, see below. Micro-Timeline: Part One exists here, and you can see both of them together, in one place, here. Happy reading.
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