For Immediate Release – April 4, 2023
Contact: Debbie Laurie – City Manager, City of Bangor
(207) 992-4204 - email@example.com
Progress Made Toward Housing Those in the Valley Avenue Encampments
Bangor, Maine – As a result of a September 2022 site visit from a number of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials, our community was fortunate to receive dedicated support in the form of a HUD Technical Assistance (TA) team. The TA team was deployed to share best practices and to aid in the development and implementation of an evidence-based, emergency management style approach to encampments within our community to better meet the needs of all.
When we shared the news of this support earlier this year, we provided an overview of the emergency management style process that would be undertaken: identify the individuals, house the individuals and return the space to the public. It sounds relatively straight forward, but ensuring all of the pieces are aligned was critical to ensure the work could be carried out responsibly.
For the last three months 40+ individuals from 10+ state and local agencies have worked diligently to align approaches and resources to be positioned to carry out the work. We are now poised to put what we’ve learned into action.
Through the efforts of this dedicated group of people, a list of individuals within the encampment along Valley Avenue has been developed. The group has worked carefully to build relationships that allowed them to ensure individuals have the necessary documentation in place to move into housing (IDs, housing vouchers, medical assessments, case management, etc.). Simultaneously, the group has worked diligently to obtain the necessary housing units as well as identify necessary services and supplies to support each person’s move to permanent housing.
At this time, we are moving to the final step in the emergency management style approach, rapidly housing individuals within the Valley Avenue encampment. Effective April 11th, encampments along Valley Avenue will no longer be allowed. Individuals are being counseled and aided daily with opportunities for housing with an emphasis on permanent housing but temporary housing options will be available as well. There will be housing options available for all.
We know this work has been long anticipated by our community, and there is great interest in this work. At this time, we are asking the public to respect the rights and privacy of the individuals being assisted as well as those undertaking the work. However, there are certainly opportunities for the public to assist. If you or anyone you know has available apartments, gently used furnishings (excluding beds) or an ability provide financial support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be connected with the appropriate contact.
This work represents a milestone in our collective effort to restart the homeless response that was crippled during the pandemic. Our collective ability to better serve the needs of individuals in our community has been greatly enhanced by the deployment of a HUD TA team, whose assistance to our community has truly been transformative.
The City of Bangor, Maine is a service center community of 31,753 residents and is the county seat of Penobscot County. Bangor is the major commercial and cultural center for much of northern and eastern Maine. The City is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. For information on City projects and news, see www.bangormaine.gov.