Skip to main content

News Center Maine: Public safety stakeholders get tour of homeless resources in Portland

By February 16, 2024March 4th, 2024News

This story was published by News Center Maine. View the story online through the link below or read a snippet copied from the article, below.

PORTLAND, Maine — Cumberland County District Attorney Jackie Sartoris hosted a tour Friday to show local law enforcement what resources are available for people experiencing homelessness. The goal, according to the county’s top cop, was to bring all stakeholders in law enforcement and drug treatment to the same page on the resources available for unhoused people.

“In order to keep people out of the criminal system where I work … it is to offer people help where they can best receive it, and that’s about housing,” she said.

Sartoris was joined by Portland law enforcement leaders and representatives from Greater Portland Public Health, Preble Street, Cumberland County, Portland Parks and Recreation, and many others.

Sartoris said she wanted the group of about 30 or 40 attendees to be aware of all the different places where people who are homeless could go, given their unique situations and needs. She said she doesn’t want to see as many homeless people in the criminal justice system as there are now.

“None of that really moves them to help,” Sartoris said.

Sean Donaghue, division chief with the Portland Fire Department, said first responders often are called as a “catch all” for a variety of emergencies that might not best be provided by the fire department.