September 6, 2013

Skowhegan shelter for homeless youth closing

The 10-bed Halcyon House, which provides services to children ages 10 to 17, becomes the latest victim of a cut in federal funding.

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Halcyon House in Skowhegan is being closed.

Contributed photo

click image to enlarge

Thomas J. McAdam

Contributed photo

Youths unserved
Halcyon House, a 10-bed shelter in Skowhegan, has provided shelter and other emergency services to students from all over the state. The numbers served by county from July 1, 2012, to June 30 this year are:
Androscoggin   7
Cumberland     8
Franklin     5
Kennebec     14
Lincoln     1
Oxford     3
Penobscot     3
Somerset      15
Waldo     3
York     9
Total:    68

Area Homeless Shelters:

New Hope Women’s Shelter
111 Main St., Solon

Trinity Men’s Shelter
12 McClellan St., Skowhegan

Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter
19 Colby St., Waterville

Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline
For those concerned about themselves or others who are in crisis

“We’re very grateful for all of the help that we’ve got, not only from places like the United Way but from a number of churches, groups and individuals,” he said.

The Maine State Housing Authority announced in July that it was reducing its per-night reimbursement rate to $10.34, a reduction of 15 percent. McAdams said it actually costs Halcyon House $180 per night to provide services to its young clients, most of whom are referred by the state.

For the current fiscal year, the Emergency Solutions Grants program’s allocation in Maine was reduced 25 percent, and then a further 5 percent because of the federal sequestration, which took effect on March 1.

The net effect was an allocation of $1,051,868, a loss of $329,242 to the state.

Dean Lachance is the executive director of Bread of Life Ministries, which operates a 30-bed homeless shelter in Augusta.

He said the reduced funding doesn’t save money.

“The alternative is horrific,” Lachance said. “They’re going to be in the jails and in the hospitals, costing 50 times more, at least.”

He said that in the eight years he’s been with the ministry, per-night funding has gone down every year, from a high of about $13 per night to current levels.

Lachance said representatives of homeless shelters and the state housing authority have formed a committee to seek alternative agency funding for homeless shelters.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287

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