Morgan Locklear talks to a reporter last week with her son Madden Porter, 1, on her back. Locklear and her two children are staying at Portland’s family shelter on Chestnut Street, but she supports the “sleep-out” at Portland City Hall, where her fiance is staying. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Morgan Locklear, 26, said she has struggled with homelessness since she was a teenager.

Her most recent bout came after she was evicted in 2017 from subsidized housing in Parsonsfield, because her fiance would frequently visit but was not on the lease.

The couple, along with their daughter, June, who is now 5, tried to secure housing in the Lewiston-Auburn area, but it didn’t work out, she said. Locklear said the couple, who now have a 1-year-old son, Madden, had a lead on housing in New Hampshire in October.

“We thought it would be a fresh start for us, but we got scammed,” Locklear said.

After being denied shelter in New Hampshire, the couple came to Portland, where Locklear said she had previously stayed at Preble Street’s teen shelter.

Locklear and her two children are currently staying at Portland’s city-run Family Shelter. But her fiance is staying at the encampment because he uses medical marijuana, which is not allowed in the shelter.

Locklear said she spends most of her days down at the encampment with her fiance and the community that has been established there. She said her children offer moments of joy to those staying there. She said she feels that her family is safe at the encampment.

As she spoke, her son, Madden, was strapped to her back and looked curiously at a masked reporter, while June ran up and down the Myrtle Street sidewalk. Locklear pushed a stroller filled with supplies, including apple juice boxes, Cheerios and Gold Fish crackers.

Locklear hopes the city will make it easier for people to camp out and that people will stop judging those who are homeless, all of whom have their own story about how they ended up on the streets.

As for her family, she’s hoping to secure a housing voucher and an apartment they can afford.

“I just want to find a place with all of us under one roof, so we can raise our kids and they can be happy,” she said.

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