PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - City officials gathered with social service providers today to outline their 7-point plan to provide more services for the homeless in hopes of getting more of those folks off the streets.
The plan calls for enhanced case management and more outreach. Having advocates go out to the homeless and make sure they're aware of the services available. They city has 40-new slots for housing and has received an additional 350-thousand dollars for other services.
The hope is to get people off the streets, into shelters and programs, and eventually into permanent housing.
The announcement came the same day a new ban on panhandling on median strips took effect. The median ban and the ongoing efforts could reduce the number of panhandlers, but everyone involved in these efforts say there are no quick fixes.
"We can have the services in place, but this isn't Hollywood, its not if we build it they will come, you still have to go out and engage with people", said Thomas Ptacek, a former homeless person who now works as an advocate.
Portland's Mayor called this effort to address homelessness by city officials, social services agencies and business leaders unprecedented. He says he's confident it will have an impact on reducing homelessness.