Craig Stevens, Damien Jenkins and David Williams Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

One recently found his way out of homelessness by embracing religion, and now he’s working to become a youth pastor to help others going through experiences like his.

Another man is newly homeless again after his landlord nearly doubled the rent on the apartment where he and his wife had lived for three years.

A third works 12-hour days, but those long days are precisely what makes it difficult for him to access help that could lead to housing.

They’ve all been part of Bangor’s homeless population that has grown throughout the pandemic and become more noticeable throughout the city. Their stories show that there’s no singular way people have ended up homeless, and that there’s no singular way out of the situation.

Damien Jenkins decided something in his life had to change after a near-fatal overdose, and he connected with Pastor Terry Dinkins of the Mansion Church in Bangor. Today, he regularly walks through the growing Tent City encampment on Bangor’s west side, announcing that he and other Mansion Church volunteers have brought food and other crucial supplies.

David Williams and his wife just arrived at Tent City days ago, unable to afford the higher rent charged by their Old Town landlord. He’s been homeless in Bangor before, and now he notices how much more serious the problem is than a few years ago, coupled with an opioid addiction epidemic that has grown worse through the pandemic.

And Craig Stevens rises early each morning to catch a ride to his work building a $1 million home. But because he’s working, he can’t spend his time on the phone trying to access services that might lead him to housing. And despite making an income, he said, it’s expensive to be homeless.

Some 170 people were sleeping outside in Bangor, spread across 11 encampments, according to the city’s latest count from August. That’s up more than 20 percent from the fall of 2020, when the rapid growth in the city’s homeless population had already begun. Those numbers do not include those sleeping in Bangor’s two adult homeless shelters and one youth shelter.

To highlight the faces and personalities behind those numbers, we spoke with Jenkins, Williams and Stevens about their experiences with homelessness as Bangor grapples with a growing problem and colder weather approaching.

READ THEIR STORIES

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...