BANGOR, Maine — It's the peak of summer, but some folks in Penobscot County are already thinking about snowy days, icy cold nights, and the problems that cause for the homeless community.
In 2018, the Bangor-Area Homeless Shelter opened a warming center during the winter months for the first time.
The warming center was the first of its kind in the Bangor area.
Director of the Bangor-Area Homeless Shelter Boyd Kronholm describes the warming shelter as an escape from the cold with moderate offerings.
"The warming room is chairs, no beds, coffee and sometimes some snacks. The community was great about providing snacks," says Kronholm.
The warming center successfully kept dozens of homeless people off the streets each night. However, the program is threatened by lack of funding.
"It costs us approximately $30,000 in staffing and additional supplies to have the warming center open for as long as we want to open it for," says Kronholm.
Last year, the warming center was funded in large part by a donation from Hannaford. This year, the shelter may not receive that corporate donation.
The Bangor-Area Homeless Shelter would also like to have the warming center open for a longer period of time.
"Last year we couldn't open the warming room until mid-November," says Kronholm, "but it got colder a lot earlier in the year than that."
Eddie, who chose not to share his last name with NEWS CENTER Maine, is homeless and says the warming shelter was vital for him last winter.
"For the most part, I'm out there every night, every single night," says Eddie. "It will rain. It gets bitter cold."
"There have been times when before that I had to sleep out in the freezing cold and wear multiple jackets," says Eddie.
With two-thirds of the shelter's budget coming from private funding -- like grants and donations -- the survival of the warming center depends on the generosity of people in the community.
Community service group Hope for the Homeless has raised over $15,000 for the warming center in Bangor.
The Bangor-Area Homeless Shelter is always looking for donations. Donors can specify that they want their donation to go specifically towards the warming center.