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September 19, 2014

King Tours Homeless Support Facilities in Portland

Announces co-sponsorship of legislation to protect runaways and homeless youth

PORTLAND, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) toured three sites in downtown Portland – the Oxford Street Shelter, Elm Terrace, and Danforth on High – that provide services to the city’s homeless population. Following the tours, King announced his support for the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, federal legislation that would reauthorize and strengthen existing federal protection for young people living on the street.
“Today’s tour was an important window into the daily struggles of Maine’s homeless population and the challenges facing the organizations working to support them,” said Senator King. “Despite these tireless efforts, too many people in Maine continue to live without a permanent roof over their heads. That’s why I’ve signed onto legislation to recommit and expand our federal efforts to assist homeless youth and give them the resources and support they need to get back on track.” 
Joined by Cullen Ryan, the Executive Director of Community Housing of Maine, King first visited the Oxford Street Shelter, where he met with the management of the 154-bed facility and discussed the challenges they face in serving Portland’s homeless community. He then walked to Elm Terrace, an affordable housing project that includes a residence for 15 women who have struggled with drug addiction and homelessness. The residence also provides housing for their children. The tour ended at Danforth on High, a building with 30 apartments that provides affordable housing to seniors over age 55.
King signed onto the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in July, which would reauthorize several important federal initiatives that support America’s homeless young people, including a grant program that help states and local communities as they work to address the needs of runaway and homeless youth. The bill also includes new language to target human trafficking and prohibit these federal programs from discriminating against a child based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Approximately 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) data from November 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the number of homeless individuals in Maine increased by 26 percent between 2012 and 2013. A HUD survey also found that there were a total of 3,016 homeless individuals in the state on one January night in 2013, over 400 of which were 24 years old or younger. 


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