Why is it that when we address the homelessness situation, it becomes a real estate issue and not a people issue? Our response reveals a high regard for the rising values of Bayside real estate and low regard for what is best for the community as a whole. A new and improved shelter to lessen the burden of homelessness fits in a small patch of green just feet away from Brighton Avenue‘s heavy traffic, but not within the confines of its present location?

For over the past decade and a half, Bayside has become the venue of economic development, with room for breweries, bowling and high-priced groceries, but apparently not for a shelter to aid those most in need. The investors in Bayside would like to relocate the problem of homelessness to secure their investment.

I recently entered the Maine Department of Health and Human Services building in South Portland and was confounded to find that this harbinger of aid rose among the stark landscape bordering the jetport’s runway, increasing the burden of attaining services. We can blame the state and Gov. LePage for the mislocation of this vital service, but will Portland be guilty of the same misdeed?

The city of Portland has the opportunity to show that building a community inclusive of every economic stratum is what makes life good here. Portland’s homeless should at least have the infrastructure (walkability and bus lines) and resources (library technology and City Hall) that in-town Portland provides for us all. Pushing our problems to the outskirts of the city does little to make our community proud.

Scott Patterson


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