BANGOR – Last week, many members of Bangor’s homeless population were moved from a campsite to motel rooms.
Now comes the hard part for homeless advocates: finding permanent housing for them.
Despite some resistance, Bangor’s homeless outreach caseworker Torelin Jager said the temporary relocation was the easy part.
She said finding landlords willing to rent to people trying to step out of the homeless life is difficult.
“Unfortunately that seems to be the biggest struggle right now,” Jager said. “It was a big struggle pre-corona and now that corona is upon us, it’s even more of a struggle.”
Jager said one of her challenges is getting homeless people to trust her.
“They’ve been let down over and over and over again by providers and and other resources that have told them ‘We’re going to house you. We’re going to help you. We’re going to do all these things for you,‘” said Jager.
She said there always will be some people who want nothing to do with anyone trying to help them.
“There’s a small handful of folks that are just not interested in anything myself or the other community members have to offer,” she added.
According to Jager, the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading fear and anxiety among people who are homeless.
“They’re very worried,” Jager said. “A lot of the resources they had available to them or things that they they had learned to use to survive are no longer available to them.”
She said the temporary housing should provide a bridge to a better life, “so that we can provide them that stability, to help them get back on their feet, so that they can reach their full potential, so that they can strive instead of just surviving.”