BANGOR – When it comes to getting people off the streets, one Bangor-based group knows it must start with housing.
Dignity First is working on adding homes for the city’s most needy.
“It’s really looking at putting people into permanent, stable, supported housing that doesn’t have any prerequisites,” said Jamie Beck, Dignity First founder. “You don’t have to be sober, you don’t have to be clean, you don’t have to have a job, you don’t have to have all of these things because the studies have shown that once you are in stable, supported housing, those things are much easier to obtain.”
She added, “It’s easier to find a job when you’re not worried about ‘Where am I going to not freeze tonight in this 15-degree weather?’”
Dignity First is a Housing First nonprofit.
“I actually had the idea of Housing First put in front of me, which is actually a model for getting people off the streets that has been extremely successful over a span of 20 years,” Beck said.
Over the last year, Dignity First has helped area homeless people and cleaned homeless encampments, all with donations and volunteers.
“What they do is they actually help supplement other outreach entities around the city of Bangor, specifically targeting folks that are homeless, experiencing homelessness or going to experience homelessness,” Sgt. Wade Betters, spokesman for the Bangor Police Department, said Monday.
He added, “One of the main differences with Dignity First is that they are focused on the Housing First model, which is of course what the city of Bangor adopts in our approach to helping to deal with the homelessness crisis.”
Now, they’re raising money to purchase property. The group is also talking to the city about acquiring unused or tax-acquired property.
“Dignity First is really trying to come up with ways to manufacture, build, buy, or anywhere in between to make apartments or housing available to people who need it the most,” Betters said.
To find out more, check out the group’s Facebook or their website.
“You’re there for as long as you want to be there. You’re not kicked out for any reason,” Beck said of the housing the program Dignity First hopes to someday provide.