When my kids were younger, maybe four and six, Julia and I were driving with them into Portland for an evening out. A restaurant, the theatre, I can’t remember. What I do remember is this: A man was on the median when we got off on Franklin St. with a sign that said “Homeless. Please help.”

My eyes passed over him but my youngest daughter truly saw him.

“Hey, you guys,” she yelled out. “That guy needs a house and we sell houses, let’s stop and find him a house!”

It was the first time we tried to explain homelessness to our children, and neither one of them could understand it. Maybe that’s because it’s hard for any of us to understand it.

Southern Maine has become one of the most desirable places to live in the country, but systemic issues have left so many of our neighbors behind. In the city of Portland, Milestone Recovery has been there since 1967, providing shelter and sensitive care for people trying to manage substance use disorder along with mental illness, poverty and chronic homelessness.

You may have seen Milestone in the news recently. They have closed their detoxification program because they cannot provide their high standard of care. There is a national shortage of trained nurses and they need to hire more.

Julia and I believe that valuing our fellow human beings is one of the most important things we can do on Earth, and today, the need for love and kindness has never been greater. We will be donating to Milestone for every transaction we close this year.

We hope you are in a position to join us. Go to milestone-recovery.org to donate, find a volunteer role or even see if there’s a job that’s a fit for you or someone you know. We love where we live and we want our community to be a home for all.

Tom Ranello is a 23-year board member at Milestone Recovery and a real estate broker with RE/MAX® Shoreline. Tom can be reached at 207-838-1651 or at [email protected]