“In the shelter we got 11 rooms total…”
It’s a 24/7 operation that provides a safe place for people in need.
“There’s a multitude of reasons people end up on our doorstep, but it’s always because they don’t have any other option available to them, whether it’s family or financial reasons, or what the case.”
Stephen Eyler is the Homeless services of Aroostook executive director.
“When folks come to us we’re going to try and address the immediate needs that they have, and as time goes by and as more needs are made known to us we’re going to try and address those as well. We take a holistic approach when we help a household, a family, each person individually.”
Eyler says safety is their first priority when it comes to who they’re able to serve at the shelter.
“We’re going to keep a safe place here for woman, children, families, especially the children, and there are time when folks have needs that are greater than what we can meet, or there will be reasons that are directly connected to safety, keeping a safe place for folks to be in while they regain independents in their lives.”
There is a vetting process people have to go through before they’re allowed to stay at the shelter. That process includes background checks, contacting the police department, looking online and in court news.
“We look at every person, every family, every household individually and we make the decision based on information we’ve collected through background searched, but also we take into consideration how much time has gone by when folks have gotten into trouble and what happened then and now.”
If someone isn’t able to be admitted to the shelter, Eyler connects them with other resources in the community.
“We’ll provide an unable to shelter letter they can take to the local GA office, general assistance office, where they can get some financial assistance that way. There are other agencies in town that might be able to help them.”
Over the past few years the shelter has been under capacity, but Eyler says there’s been a recent increase. In the six years Eyler has been there, the shelter has served more than 900 people, including 200 children.