PORTLAND (WGME) -- A new report shows Maine is not doing enough to support our homeless and housing insecure.
The report found that Maine doesn’t have enough money going toward homeless shelters, a lack of consistent quality in the shelters and limited housing options for those in need.
Overall, the nearly 30-page report found that Maine doesn’t have a coordinated response when it comes to dealing with homelessness.
“The way that it’s working right now is that we’re just sort of responding on a crisis basis,” MaineHousing Spokesperson Cara Courchesne said.
According to the report, the length of time Mainers experience homelessness is relatively short.
Data from August to September of 2020 shows that 41 percent of people were in a shelter fewer than 14 days and only 9 percent spent more than 180 days.
Courchesne says we still need a better system.
“What we really wanted to make sure we were doing was looking at what the best practices were across the United States and seeing what made sense for Maine,” Courchesne said.
The report says Maine should follow states like Indiana, Connecticut and New Hampshire, especially when it comes to training homeless leaders to work together and increase shelters and affordable housing units.
“For a lot of your state and ours, there’s not a lot of capacity in those local organizations,” Rob Dapice of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority said.
New Hampshire just finished a statewide supportive housing training program.
“I can’t say I’m intimately familiar with the details of the homelessness crisis in Maine, but certainly our states have a lot of similarities in terms of the urban and rural character and the demographics of the populations, so I think it definitely could have some beneficial results,” Dapice said.
“The problem is there just aren’t the resources right now to deploy to do that on scale,” Maine Affordable Housing Director Greg Payne said.
The report recommends building nine service hubs from Aroostook to York County.
These hubs would help people in need of housing and bring resources right to where they live so they don’t have to travel to larger cities.
“We really want to make sure that communities can serve people where they are and also just reduce pressure on those population centers,” Courchesne said. “We know that is clearly a problem here in Maine.”
Those behind the report say it’s going to take a while since they don’t have enough money right now to implement all of the recommendations. They’re now hoping the governor will continue to invest in affordable housing so they can move toward ending homelessness in Maine.