Recently we have provided emergency overnight shelter to around 550 individuals per year, for a collective 12,900 nights. That’s an average stay of 23.4 nights, but if we don’t count those who only stay 1-3 nights, the average is closer to 30 nights.

As we are open 24/7, our Day Program supports these people with case management and referrals, phone use, a place to meet with providers, and a safe alternative to the streets and Maine’s climate. But the Day Program also serves an additional 1,500 area individuals and families whose needs include being at imminent risk of homelessness, being in emotional crisis, needing a meal or food to take home, needing information on area providers and advice, or simply needing a warm place and friendly faces. Many of the most disabled folks who utilize the emergency shelter connect with us via the Day Program after finding housing.

The term “homeless” might not be adequate in describing the people who utilize a shelter. Each person is unique, with different strengths and needs, and different paths to get beyond homelessness. These can include further education or vocational training, getting a job, entering a treatment program, securing health care, or utilizing assistance programs for housing and services.

Volunteers. Beginning with the shelter’s board of directors, BAHS benefits from the leadership and support offered by hundreds of volunteers each year. There are students who intern and help us with guest support; family teams, employee groups, church members, and others who prepare and serve meals at noon and night; and one saint with a pickup truck who delivers food donations to the shelter four mornings a week year round.

Staff. We would never be able to safely manage the shelter, or see the successes of our guests and visitors, without the skills, compassion, and effort of the BAHS team. They counsel guests in trouble, confront them about bad behavior, work with a range of community providers (from hospitals to social service agencies to area law enforcement), work to keep guests positive, manage crises, serve meals, and see that guests do their part to keep the shelter clean. It takes a special kind of person to work in a homeless shelter.

Funding. The current annual budget is approximately $550,000, as follows:

Government Revenue

• State, $135,000: General Fund 20%; DHHS 20% (via state share of General Assistance); 60% MSHA HOME Fund (via real-estate transfer tax)

• Federal, $33,000: HUD Emergency Shelter Program $25,000; FEMA Emergency Food & Shelter Program $8,000

• County, $15,000

• City of Bangor, $27,000 (local portion of General Assistance)

Subtotal: $210,000 (only 38% of needed revenue)

Other Sources Revenue

• Annual Appeal: $100,000

• Additional Local/Private: $30,000

• United Way: $50,000

• Fundraisers: $50,000

• Grants/Foundations: $72,000

• Rental Income: $38,000

Subtotal: $340,000 (62% of revenue)