Aroostook Community Matters: Aroostook County Sees A Historical Rise in Homelessness - Part 2

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 5:19 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -The increase in Homelessness in the county has people who provide help scrambling to support the need. In this week’s Aroostook Community Matters, Corey Bouchard takes a look at the work being done to support the homeless community in the county.

Lisa “as a community I think we still have a lot of work to do”

Lisa McGlaughlin and Heidi Rackliffe each have their own roll they play when it comes to helping the homeless in the community. Both say the County is currently experiencing a homelessness crisis, one they say they’ve seen coming for the past few months.

Heidi” We were having the emergency room contact us, we were having the police stations identify that they were having people sleeping in their lobbies, we were at capacity with our hotels that we were able to put folks and that was probably the breaking point that we didn’t have an answer for somebody”

reaching capacity at the shelter and the backup services can be deadly, especially in an Aroostook county winter.

Heidi” Because it can be a matter of life and death, it can be a matter of hypothermic body responses. people don’t have the luxury of sleeping in a tent which sometimes they do in the summer to meet that need”

While the shelter was filling up with individuals on the lower level... the upper level, which houses families, was recently vacated, due to help from ACAP to place those families in hotel rooms. This gave HSA and the Homeless Stakeholders an idea to help house more people.

Lisa”We have expanded our services upstairs for those empty beds and have brought more people in... so we’re ready to go and we’re waiting to fill some of those beds that are needed”

But the temporary shelter from Homeless Services of Aroostook is like a band aid, that’s where ACAP’s Hope and Prosperity center steps in, to help with some of the other resources needed to address the issue.

Heidi” One of the ways that we’ve been able to help HSA in this endeavor is to ensure that we open our hope and prosperity center during the day hours of 8-5. so all of the residents come to our facility to be able to work through those barriers to help them get the best chance of success with that apartment, with that employment, with those pieces and that was our way of our agency contributing to that part of the solution

Rackliffe says that the Stakeholders, and HSA can’t solve this unprecedented homeless crisis on their own.

Heidi” without those employers willing to give a chance for employment, without a landlord willing to rent to someone without rental experience, this wont stop and this will continue to be an issue in the community”

Both the Hope and Prosperity center, as well as the Homeless Services of Aroostook are actively looking for volunteers to donate their time, money, clothing, snacks, and homecooked meals, among other things…If you would like to donate, or if you are in need of assistance, Contact Information for both organizations will be available at Corey Bouchard, Newssource 8

Homeless Services of Aroostook is located at 745 Central Dr, Presque Isle and their phone number is (207) 764-4125

Hope and Prosperity Resource Center is located at 1 Edgemont Dr, Presque Isle and their phone number is (207) 764-3721

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