PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)- A more than quarter of a million dollar grant is being given to Preble Street Resource Center in Portland- money that the non-profit's staff say will help end the cycle of chronic homelessness for many people.
The KeyBank Foundation is giving $300,000 to Preble Street over the next three years. The money will help bolster the shelter's Housing First program, which provides permanent housing to those who have been living their lives on the streets the longest. Executive Director of Preble Street, Mark Swann, says while about 80% of people who are homeless are only homeless temporarily, about 15-20% struggle to overcome addiction and mental illness and often remain homeless for years or even decades. Swann says permanent housing allows them to start down the road to wellness.
Lack of funding has been a major impact on the investment in the Housing First program, Swann says there is no money coming from the government and the shelter relies on privat financial help.
"We're yet to find a really solid government funding source for this, so we are actively searching for private support all the time," said Swann. "It's very disappointing, most states around the country have adopted the housing first model as the solution to chronic homelessness, but sadly we haven't done that in Maine."
The grant money will go towards funding Preble Street's latest permanent housing complex, the Houston Commons. It will also help the dozens of people moving out of homelessness and into the other two of Preble Street's Housing First buildings in the city of Portland.