ACAP: ' It’s very difficult to look at an individual in the eyes and say I’m sorry I cant provide you anything to protect yourself from the elements ' Homelessness in the County Reaches Critical Point Right Before Colder Months Approach

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:55 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -How do you turn away someone without anywhere to go? That is the problem faced by ACAP and other organizations involved in providing services for individuals experiencing homelessness. According to Homeless Services of Aroostook, their shelter is full, and so are shelters downstate , adding fuel to the homeless crisis in the state. This has left support services to come up with solutions.

“As we’ve said before, Homelessness is a very real situation, not only in our county, but a nationwide issue.” says Heidi Rackliffe, The Director of Programs for ACAP There are systematic barriers that have just been pushed to the service and unfortunately Aroostook County is not exempt from not being touched by homelessness. I will be the first to say, we have given a couple tents away, when an individual comes to you to seek shelter and there is no availability at the shelter because they are full, and there are no rooms available, it’s very difficult to look at an individual in the eyes and say I’m sorry I cant provide you anything to protect yourself from the elements, so at that time it was made a decision that we were going to provide those immediate basic human needs... The intention of the tent is not to last through winter, we are hopeful that people can come together, we can come with solutions to avoid this, we know it’s unrealistic to think that someone can survive in a tent, but in the moment when an individual came that was the only option we were available to provide them... It’s really important to understand that ACAP is not the only agency, this providing of tents and immediate shelter is something that has gone on by many of the partners that we serve for various years”

Rackliffe says that while ACAP is giving out tents, they are not setting up any tent cities. We will hear from the Homeless Services of Aroostook about the Homelessness Crisis in the county, and the outlook with winter coming, on a future Newssource 8 at 6.