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Unhoused Mainers face uncertainty during snowstorm

Organizers with Preble Street say the lack of shelter space makes this time of year especially vulnerable for those without housing or who are housing insecure.

PORTLAND, Maine — Scott Valliere was on Oxford Street in Portland Monday during the middle of a six-inch accumulation of snow.

"I just came out here to see what I can find for resources... I don't know what else I can do besides just give everything I own away," Valliere said.

As Valliere walked into the Spurwink building on Oxford, he told NEWS CENTER Maine he will be homeless in several days. He said he is being evicted.

Valliere said this won't be the first time he's had to live on the street.

"It was nothing like it is now, there was warming huts during the day, there was overflow shelters at night," Valliere said. "For someone like myself, it is extremely frustrating because I suffer from mental health and addiction... so you are taking someone who has a very slim chance of making it in the world and then making my life 10,000 times harder."

He's not the only one who is worried about having shelter to avoid the cold winter months as the situation for unhoused people in Maine continues to worsen.

"The numbers are larger than ever, there are more people seeking shelter than ever before; the shelters are full in Portland every night. There is a greater need than ever before," Andrew Bove, vice president of social work for Preble Street, said.

Bove also said the conclusion of federal funds for a hotel program through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program could also lead to more people experiencing homelessness in the Portland metro.

"It's an incredible challenge, it's an extreme burden, I don't think people can really understand or comprehend what it's like. It's miserable, people are soaking wet and trying to find a place to go to the bathroom," Bove said. "It's certainly something I wouldn't wish on anybody."

For Valliere, his reality is fast approaching.

"I just wish people were more open-minded because there are a million reasons why people become homeless and no two stories are the same, you [should] be kinder to people," Valliere said.

For a running list of resources in a county-by-county list, you can access this link for MaineHousing. You can also call 2-1-1.

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