A Brief History:
Rural homelessness in Western Maine has long been recognized by agencies and churches in the Farmington area. Contributing factors include 17.1% of the population living below the poverty line (4% over the State average).
In the spring of 2013 WMCA called together many community partners to address the issue of homelessness once again, as the need was increasing to a visible level. The new coalition of agencies and churches invited the director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville, Maine, to help the team figure out how to establish a shelter.
The Living Waters Church in Farmington agreed to provide a space for the shelter. The new homeless initiative named itself Western Maine Homeless Outreach. During the months of July – October 2013, the operations were under the direction of an Executive committee elected out of the wider group of interested stakeholders, which was called the Advisory Council. Money was raised to cover startup costs, which included: construction, smoke detectors, showers, laundry room, alarms, legal costs, beds, mattresses, pillows, sheets, and blankets.
The WMHO opened its doors on November 11, 2013, as a temporary shelter serving the homeless of Western Maine. WMHO provides overnight housing, navigation, and targeted case management services to its guests, while continuing to make use of the Living Waters Church location for the foreseeable future.
WMHO will continue to develop an experienced, trained, and supervised staff (both paid and volunteer) that will be able to deal with the homeless population and their needs with competence and compassion.