Tonight at HHS & PS I expect we'll vote on a resolution that provides guidance to staff around the CIty's shelter policies. I'll post the resolution including that guidance once it's approved, but in the meantime, I wanted to let folks know where we are in our process to replace the aging and inadequate Oxford Street Shelter. I created the pdf below to help clarify the process to date, illustrate the process yet to come, and give people some basic information about the requirements the shelter will have to meet. Take a look!
At this point I'm sure many of you are aware that unprecedented numbers of people seeking asylum in the United States are arriving in Portland, Maine. I know there are disagreements about the role Portland should play in issues that ultimately require state and federal assistance and that people have different perspectives with regard to how the City should handle its Community Support Fund. We will be discussing those issues at our City Council meeting on Monday, June 17th, and public comment will be taken at that time.
Right now, however, we - as a city, a region, and a state - need to find a way to deal with the crisis at hand.
To that end the City of Portland is working with community partners, the American Red Cross, and the State Center for Disease Control & Prevention to operate a temporary emergency shelter at the Portland Expo. That facility opened on Wednesday, June 12th at 5pm.
Numerous people and groups have reached out to learn how they can help. If you are interested in volunteering or making donations to assist in this effort, here are some things you can do.
Thanks to all who have already reached out to learn how they can help!
One of the things I've always loved about Portland is how willing people are to get engaged with issues that are important to them. We are a tremendous community, folks. I'm very proud to call this City home.
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.
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.
As you are likely aware, the HHS & PS Committee is currently working through a list of potential sites for the city's new Homeless Services Center. This facility will replace the city's current facility for single adults experiencing homelessness, the Oxford Street Shelter, and it will likely have something in the neighborhood of 150 beds.
We're working hard to vet all of the potential locations in the city for this establishment and to choose the best possible location. To find out where we are in our process and how it is likely to proceed from here, read on.
Okay, so that's not exactly how John Lennon put it (and apparently Lennon wasn't even the one who first said it). But life did happen at our Health & Human Services and Public Safety committee meeting on Tuesday night, and it has altered our course as we seek to select a site for the new Homeless Services Center.
9/11/2018 UPDATE: Linked Documents have been updated with some new additions. See the chart below.
On Wednesday, September 4th, the City released several documents related to the new Homeless Services Center being planned for Portland. You can find these new documents (and many more) here.
Some of this information was covered at the Community Forum held at USM on September 8th, but we'll also be discussing these documents at the next Health & Human Services and Public Safety (HHS & PS) Committee meeting (Tuesday, September 11th, 5:30pm, City Hall, Council Chambers).
Since it's tough to tell what all the documents are without opening them, I've created an annotated list of the ones we'll be discussing on Tuesday. Hope this is helpful!
Early conversations about homelessness and the need for an improved shelter facility predate my election to the Council. But I'm proud to have played a role, alongside stakeholders, in moving this conversation forward over the last two and a half years. We're now poised to select a site for a new, state-of-the-art facility that will allow city staff to fully implement best practices and move people from homelessness to permanent housing as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This new facility is just one step in a long-range plan to address homelessness in Portland, but it is a very important step.
Here's a brief overview of the Micro-Timeline to Date* and how I expect the process to unfold from here.
On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the City Council's Health & Human Services Committee will hold a public forum to discuss the design and planning for a new emergency shelter in Portland.
There are two shelter issues currently making their way through the Council's Health & Human Services Committee. The first concerns the design and planning of a new facility to replace the outdated adult emergency shelter on Oxford Street (the Oxford Street Shelter). The second involves making changes to the city land use code in order to allow smaller shelter facilities as conditional uses throughout the city. Here's why both of these initiatives are important for Portland.
Sign up for my
to receive regular Council updates.