BANGOR — A nonprofit organization is trying a different approach to deal with homelessness.
“It really focuses on the dignity of every person,” said Jamie Beck, founder and president of Dignity First. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re sober. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a job or what kind of background you have if you deserve a roof over your head.”
Dignity First is a nonprofit organization that strives to find homes for those experiencing homelessness, following a housing-first model.
“Also provide some essential services like taking people to job interviews, helping them with laundry services, helping them acquire things that they need for really furnished housing,” Beck said. “That kind of thing and helping with deposits for apartments.”
Beck said the city of Bangor is working hard to get people off the streets, but she believes Dignity First can be of assistance.
“There’s a lot of news in our area going on right now as far as people on the waterfront and more un-housed people in our area,” Beck said. “While giving tents and supplies is good for a temporary measure, it creates more problems, and it doesn’t solve the problem.”
Executive Director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter Boyd Kronholm said he thinks Dignity First is still trying to find its place.
“A year ago or so, they did a couple of cleanup projects at some homeless encampments and things but I really haven’t seen much of them,” Kronholm said. “They’re not participants in the Region III housing, homeless committee.”
Bangor’s Homeless Outreach Caseworker Torelin Jager said she thinks this will benefit the city.
“They get thinking about ideas that I would never have thought of at times possibly,” Jager said. “They’re very good at making sure they meet people where they are and try to move them forward as fast and as quickly as possible.”