We are in a crisis. We have homeless people in our streets of Augusta. I saw a young woman at Memorial Circle recently panhandling in traffic and I neglected to ask why. This woman was right in front of me. My husband, David, hurriedly gave her $5 through the window and I thought to myself, that is not enough.

I didn’t know anything about her, her needs; is she cold? Is she ill? I have a spare room at home. I do not know enough! I want to know! Maybe she just needs a boost, a short-term solution, a temporary space, a warm shelter, an address to get work? Something.

We as a community must think of this as a crisis, a storm, a hurricane. Then, in a heartbeat, beds would be set up at the Armory, at the American Legion, at the soon-to-be vacant Maine Veterans Home and/or at the Civic Center. There, trained employed professionals can provide solutions.

C’mon Augusta. We are in crisis. Temporary help is needed now so that long-term solutions will be made later. I failed today.


Ann Ardito Smith


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