From Kate Snyder, Portland, Maine <[email protected]>
Subject Shelter Beds. Not Tents.
Date November 10, 2023 10:11 PM
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We Need More Shelter Beds, and there's a plan to get them!

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November 10, 2023

Dear Portlanders,

There is a City Council vote this Monday November 13th to increase the number of municipal emergency shelter beds.

As I said in an email dated: October 15th, the plan looks like this:
50 Additional beds at the Homeless Services Center (HSC)
~120 HSC beds that open up later this month when the new shelter at 166 Riverside opens up for individual asylum seekers
~170 available emergency shelter beds

In my view - this meaningful number of available emergency shelter beds changes the landscape in Portland - for the good.

For the third time, the Council will consider Order 37-23/24: Declaring a State of Limited Emergency at 654 Riverside Street.
This order would allow the City Manager to temporarily increase the number of beds available at the City of Portland's Homeless Services Center by 50. Full Agenda here, with back up materials ([link removed])

For the third time on this matter, I will vote YES.
* Because I believe we need to move people quickly from living outdoors, in tents, to shelter beds.
* And because I believe that failure to add shelter beds at the HSC misses a critical opportunity.
+ If we're serious about moving people inside, we need to add beds at the municipal facility that was designed and built to help people experiencing homelessness.

Portland's Homeless Services Center has professional staff who help with housing navigation, there are meals, showers, laundry, storage, access to medical care, and even the benefit of other community service providers on site to help, connect and add capacity to all that the City of Portland staff does.

Nothing about homelessness is simple.
But I believe the City of Portland's municipal work to help people, to provide emergency shelter, and to resolve encampments, requires that we temporarily add more shelter beds.

Kate Snyder

A proposal to amend current City of Portland ordinances to allow camping is not, in my opinion, the right choice.
The proposal to allow camping will be considered the following Monday, November 20th.

PPH Article, 11/10/23 "Proposal to allow homeless encampments in Portland draws ire from city departments, residents" ([link removed])

Commentary in today's Portland Press Herald entitled Sanctioning homeless encampments would be a grave error ([link removed]) .
According to the author, Cullen Ryan (executive director of Community Housing of Maine.), "It is critical that Portland not accept encampments, and most importantly, not sanction them. I’ve watched multiple communities tread this path. There is no coming back. Municipal leaders will all tell you sanctioning encampments was a devastating mistake."

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Mayor Kate Snyder . 389 Congress St . Portland, ME 04101-3566 . USA
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