Bates co-sponsors week of events about homelessness

In an effort to raise awareness about the escalating problem of homelessness faced in the Lewiston-Auburn community, the Bates College Hunger and Homelessness Committee and the Coalition of Many and One will co-sponsor three events May 3-8, beginning with a panel discussion titled Breaking Stereotypes: Homelessness in Perspective, at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, Skelton Lounge, Chase Hall, 56 Campus Avenue. The public is invited to attend at no charge.

The panel includes individuals who have experienced life on the streets, current activists and people working within homeless shelters. Panelists will discuss the inaccuracies of stereotypes surrounding homelessness.

According to Hunger and Homelessness committee member Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, a first-year Bates student from Denver, Colo., the Lewiston-Auburn Alliance for the Homeless recently completed a count and survey as part of a statewide campaign to gain a better picture of homelessness in Maine’s communities. The LAAH findings support a wealth of evidence that the problem of homelessness is escalating across the state and the nation. Service providers in the Lewiston-Auburn community, says Stillwell-Parvensky, have seen an increase in demand for services in the past few years “as unemployment has increased, housing prices have skyrocketed  and services have been cut on the state and federal level.”

The two sponsoring organizations have planned a Day of Service from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 8, when area residents and students will work on cleaning and repair projects at Hope Haven Homeless Shelter, Trinity Soup Kitchen and other local service organizations. The day concludes with a community potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m., Calvary Church, 59 Sabattus St.

A discussion of homelessness and possible community-based solutions will follow the meal.

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