Council hears Homeless Task Force recommendations

12:41 AM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A task force on homelessness presented its recommendations to the City Council Monday night.

It's an issue that has caused some controversy in recent days, as business leaders have aired their concerns about the city being too attractive to the homeless population.

"Finding the right balance between compassionate treatment of those in need and nurturing economic growth is critical," Doug Fuss of Portland's Downtown District told councilors. "Do we really want to increase the number of beds concentrated in such close proximity to downtown?"

Homeless advocates reacted to those concerns in a strong showing of support for the task force, hoping to dispel the myths about homeless people flocking to Portland to take advantage of social services, and to prove that there is nothing attractive about being homeless.

"Perhaps we should make this mat half as thin," Donna Yellen of Preble Street suggested as she held up one of the shelter's sleeping mats. "Would that help decrease homelessness in Portland? We at Preble Street find it offensive that the poor tragic daily lives of the homeless are characterized as somehow attractive."

The council voted to assign the recommendations to two separate committees. Those committees will bring their recommendations back to the council sometime in May or June.










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