BELFAST – A grassroots group has been going out to find and help homeless people in Waldo County, and now they’re trying to spread the word.
“There will be somebody literally tonight sleeping in a vehicle or a snowbank,” said Matt Bolduc, the founder of From Above.
Bolduc and Dave Smith met last year while putting a new roof on someone’s home.
Now they lead From Above, a group with a boots on the ground approach to end homelessness in Waldo County.
For Bolduc, it’s personal. He used to be homeless himself.
“I’ve experienced everything you can experience in that aspect and frankly I shouldn’t be here, I should be long gone,” said Bolduc. “If I didn’t do what I do now…I would be squandering a real chance that was passed to me.”
In December, they started having monthly meetings at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast.
Donations to From Above go to everything from motel rooms and food, to hygiene supplies.
“I’m a retired schoolteacher,” said Smith. “Homelessness in Waldo County, it’s often very hidden.”
They work with other groups, like the Waldo County Homeless Coalition.
This month, the coalition is counting the homeless population in Waldo County, as part of a national count called a PIT Count.
They’re expecting to count 20 to 40 people in Waldo County.
“Those numbers determine the funding that is distributed throughout the country…so it’s really important that we count as many people as we can,” said Allison Harrell, the communications chair for the Waldo County Homeless Coalition.
Leaders said From Above and its partners have helped about ten people, some went from living under a tarp to living in an apartment.
Long term, they’re trying to get a homeless shelter in the area.
For now, they’re working to give people hope.
“Your thanks to us is keep doing good,” said Bolduc of what they ask for in return.
From Above meets the first Sunday of every month at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast. More information about how to reach out is on their Facebook page.
More about the PIT count can be found on their website.