I have worked with organizations that help people experiencing homelessness in Texas, Philadelphia, New York City and, for seven years, in Portland at Preble Street.

I can report that this gem of an agency deserves better than to be deemed the cause of all of Bayside’s woes, as last Sunday’s article implies. It is like suggesting that aspirin causes headaches instead of providing relief from the pain.

In any other time, an organization like Preble Street would be lauded for consistently choosing compassion over indifference, and hope over despair. But these are churlish times, incompatible with reason and uncomfortable with complexity. The better angels of our nature are on full display every day in the work of the dedicated staff and the thousands of volunteers who make Preble Street run. How sad that all of Bayside’s troubles are laid at the feet of this tremendous, award-winning, four-star agency.

I am proud of the work Preble Street does, proud of the many collaborators like the Portland Police Department, Maine Medical Center and Greater Portland Health that have boots on the ground every day in Bayside – people committed to an ethos of care, people who choose not to flinch in the face of unspeakable suffering, people who deserve better than to see their work maligned on the front page of the Sunday paper.

Bill Burns

Syracuse, N.Y.


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