At Bridging the Gap in Augusta, we engage every day with people who are experiencing poverty. One day we’re connecting a family living in their car to case management. Another day we’re providing a safe haven at our Warming Center and doing our best to ensure that individuals have a place to stay for the night. The same day we’re opening up Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank so that people can find snow pants or a new pair of shoes or we’re packing an order of hygiene items like toothpaste, diapers and feminine care. On other days we’re connecting people to resources for recovery from addiction and quality housing.

We’re proud of the work we do. At the same time, we often feel like a triage team — taking care of immediate needs, patching something up, plugging a hole in the system. The crisis of poverty in Maine isn’t all related to the coronavirus. However, this pandemic has magnified inequities going on for years.

Organization’s like ours are vital to our communities and you can find them across the state. They reflect the best of Maine communities showing up for each other in times of need. But we can’t do it alone. And we can’t stop at just making sure people survive another day.

Now that funds are running out for unemployment, housing assistance, food assistance and other programs, we’re expecting a major fallout for the people we serve. The end of this year will definitely create even more of a crisis situation.

I am pleading with our congressional delegation to get another COVID relief package passed that includes funds for unemployed workers, food assistance and housing assistance. Help us tackle the immediate urgent need so that we can get to work on longer-term solutions that address the root causes of poverty in Maine.

 

Sarah Miller

Augusta

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