The City is one of many agencies that provide services to those experiencing homelessness in our community.
For more information about local service providers, click here. For a comprehensive Resource Guide by Salvation Army, click here.
Local Coordination Addressing Encampments
Housing and Urban Development Technical Assistance (HUD TA) and Local Providers are currently working together to address encampments and assist those living within them. The HUD TA process is an emergency management type approach that is wholly focused on identifying the barriers and solutions to rapidly house individuals. This work is intensive and will be ongoing through March 2023. The area of Valley Avenue is of immediate focus.
Click here for more information on the HUD Technical Assistance Initiative.
Click here to view the HUD Debrief that was presented at the June 12, 2023 City Council Workshop.
Landlord Liaison Program
Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS) in collaboration with the City of Bangor and supported by grant funding from MaineHousing is implementing a program to meet the housing needs of people experiencing homelessness in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, with a focus on those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
The overall goal of the program is to reduce barriers that make it difficult for landlords to rent to those who are experiencing homelessness. The pilot program provides financial assistance to landlords who provide housing opportunities to this population. The financial assistance can be used by landlords to eliminate certain financial risks that landlords have identified as barriers to renting to this population.
Effective immediately, landlords in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties who are interested in meeting the housing needs of people experiencing homelessness can apply for funding to address the following types of issues; security deposits, application fees, installation of security systems, building improvement funding to meet voucher requirements, and building risk mitigation to address damages. In addition to the direct financial support, CHCS will serve as a single point of contact for these landlords and intervene as necessary to address concerns and provide support to the tenant.
Landlords who are interested in participating in this program can contact Jenn Weatherbee at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bangor Community Action Team (BCAT)
The City is committed to the training and rollout of the new BCAT team during the month of January 2023. This program will provide enhanced care coordination and non-police response for situations with presented facts that require more social service level engagement and not necessarily a police response. It is in essence, a civilian based non-emergent crisis and quality of life intervention, as over fifteen percent of police calls for service involve checking on the welfare of an individuals. These calls include folks who are, or perceived to be, experiencing mental health crisis, unsheltered circumstances, senior wellness, and other potential circumstances raising community concern. The goal of BCAT is to deescalate, calm, connect, aid, and refer whenever possible thereby providing an alternative response model.
Homeless Outreach Program
The City of Bangor created a Homeless Outreach Caseworker position in August 2019. It costs approximately $70,000 annually including expenses unrelated to personnel costs. The caseworker spends time working primarily with individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness. They collaborate with outreach workers from CHCS, PCHC, and other providers to visit encampments on a regular basis.
Homeless Shelters & Warming Centers
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter - 263 Main St - Bangor
Emmaus Center (Clean & Sober Family Shelter) - Corner of Main & Water St - Ellsworth
Hope House - 179 Corporate Dr. - Bangor
Next Step - 735 Bangor Rd. - Ellsworth
Shaw House - 136 Union St. - Bangor
Partners for Peace - 77 Essex St. - Bangor
Click here to view an updated Resource Guide
Built for Zero Summary
The State of Maine is actively working on a homeless services system redesign. This is being done through the COC or Continuum of Care—the States’ funnel for all HUD related housing dollars. As part of the system redesign effort, the State created Homeless Service Hubs; our hub is Penobscot/Piscataquis county, Hub 7. The City of Bangor in partnership with PCHC, CHCS, HEAL, Penquis, and others, is participating in the effort as part of Hub 7, made up of Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties. This effort uses data-driven methodology to help address barriers individuals face and secure stable housing.
The State has now engaged an organization called Community Solutions to begin a methodology called Built for Zero which seeks to collect ‘hub’ data using the data system called HMIS (homelessness management information system). The goal is to look at the data as a community, to have a by-name list of people experiencing homelessness (click here to see scorecard), and to know each individuals’ strengths and barriers. Using the data, community providers will work to address barriers and secure stable housing.
Built for Zero held a presentation and answered questions at a City Council workshop on January 23, 2023. Click here to view the meeting and click here to view presentation materials.
Community Funding Support
City provided financial support from 2020 to 2022 for the following agencies:
Click here to view the ARPA information.
Shelter Plus Care
Shelter Plus Care is a HUD funded program that targets chronically homeless individuals and families. In order to qualify, one member of the household must have a documented mental illness, substance use disorder, or HIV/AIDS. The total HUD grant for Shelter Plus Care is currently $1,079,102 per year.
The City’s Shelter Plus Care Housing Specialist works closely with the homeless outreach caseworker and caseworkers from other agencies to identify chronically homeless individuals and families. People living in homeless encampments, chronically homeless individuals and those in shelters for more than six months are prioritized.
As of 10/26/22, 243 participants (196 households) are housed through the Shelter Plus Care program. Of these, 46 households were newly housed this year. This program does not have an end date, so as long as the person continues to meet the requirements they can retain their Shelter Plus Care voucher.
All Shelter Plus Care units must be inspected at move-in and annually, and this inspection is generally done by Code Enforcement. Most are housed in Bangor, but some are in surrounding communities including Orono, Old Town, and Veazie. Housing can be anywhere within Penobscot County.
Grant funded Narcan (also referred to as naloxone) distribution that covers five counties: Penobscot, Piscataquis, Washington, Aroostook, and Hancock.
From July 1, 2021 through October 31, 2022:
Bangor Public Health and Community Services spent $999,221 and distributed 16,390 kits – or 32,780 doses – of Narcan (8,484 in Penobscot County; 7,447 in Bangor). Note that the price of Narcan decreased during this period, from $75 per two-dose kit to $47.50 per two-dose kit
986 REPORTED reversals through September 2022 (228 in Penobscot County; 116 in Bangor). It is estimated that as many as 75% of all overdoses are not reported.
83 Tier 2 distributors total (38 in Penobscot County; 28 in Bangor)
Overdose Response Team
This is a four-year grant program from Maine DHHS for $150,000 per year or $600,000 total and started in January 2021. The grant covers Penobscot County - with a focus on Bangor (as this is the highest # of overdoses in the county). Penobscot County also has their own grant they work through CHCS with for this purpose called OPTIONS (state program through CARES funding) and we work closely together.
Together they follow up with individuals who overdose (and their families) within 72 hours throughout the county and provide weekly outreach to unhoused individuals around Bangor. They build relationships, provide Narcan, make referrals to harm reduction, treatment, recovery and other services as well as do follow up/check in. This team also provides training and support to first responder & public safety departments.
Parks & Recreation / Public Works
These two departments frequently work together on similar items, such as:
Field complaints related to parks, needles, trash, etc. Responds accordingly.
Picks up trash and needles on City property.
Has some interaction directly with homeless individuals and alerts other staff, when needed, to help connect folks.
Clean up of encampment sites costs the City approximately 10-15k per year and includes personnel, disposal, and other direct costs.
About a third of annual police calls involve people experiencing homelessness and/or mental health issues including but not limited to vagrancy, want-outs, welfare checks, theft, trespass, fights, assaults, protection order issues, and warrant arrests.
PD has a partnership with Northern Light Acadia Hospital – two full-time mental health liaisons and new (FY22) part-time position (to be filled soon) who specialize in substance use. This is separate from BCAT.
Partners with our Homeless Outreach Coordinator, and others, to intervene and provide direct support. Also, participates with the Overdose Response Team on a weekly basis. PD interacts with many in the homeless community during outings with this team. Important to understand that part of the rapport is built because PD focuses on encouraging them to seek treatment rather than arrest/charge people for illegal drug use/possession. This increases the odds of gaining cooperation without having to use force, either in the moment, or in the future.
General Assistance (GA)
GA is a program required by the State that every municipality provides emergency relief to folks for various needs such as housing, heating, personal items, and more depending upon a person’s income/resources. This is a critical piece as it helps diverts individuals away from homeless response system. The State reimburses municipalities for 70% of these direct costs. The current set up of the system adds additional burden to service centers for reasons to be discussed.
Total number of individuals assisted: 1,569
City share of total GA cost: $507,354
Shelter specific expenditure: Total - $150,314, City Share - $45,094
Sober House Expenditures: $10,341 (many sober house tenants come directly from homelessness or incarceration)
Total number of individuals assisted: 1,674
City share of total GA cost: $447,040
Shelter specific expenditure: Total - $136,939 City Share - $41,082
Sober House Expenditures: $41,651
Total number of individuals assisted: 964
City share of total GA cost: $281,343
Shelter specific expenditure: Total - $82,332, City Share - $24,700
Sober House Expenditures: $40,545
Total number of individuals assisted:536
City share of total GA cost: $107,337
Shelter specific expenditure: Total - $57,267 City Share - $17,180
Sober House Expenditures: $39,109
GA expenditures dropped again in FY ‘22 due to clients being referred to Penquis for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. Expenditures will increase significantly in FY ’23 as the ERA program is phased out.
Last updated on 6/2/2023