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Friday, December 21, 2012
Hammond Street Congregational Church at 5:45.
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Letter to the Editor
The front page story concerning the further down-sizing of the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center grabbed the attention of many of us who have family members served by the hospital or who work in the hospitals, emergency rooms, jails, mental health and social service agencies and homeless shelters in this community. For too long we have witnessed people with chronic and debilitating conditions end up in the wrong places. And we have known for decades that the down-sizing of institutions has resulted in a parallel growth of shelters and other programs serving “the homeless” as well as big increases in the numbers of people incarcerated in jails and correctional facilities.
There are at least three big reasons that reducing the capacity of Dorothea Dix is harmful:
First, it threatens harm to individuals who need this level of care—using any form of a straight faced test, there are no defensible alternatives to a hospital bed for some people. Specifically regarding people with serious and persistent mental illness, no agency or facility in the Greater Bangor area has demonstrated the skills or capacity to provide therapeutic care to patients with chronic conditions. The patients’ families will suffer as well.
Second, such a move will result in other agencies trying to step in and offer help—that is what communities do—but they will not be well suited for the tasks, and they have already been cut in terms of funding for programs.
Third, further down-sizing at the state facility would be one more unfunded mandate for the citizens of Greater Bangor and the money they pay in taxes. People lacking appropriate levels of care and treatment for major mental illnesses tend to then require responses from local and county law enforcement, hospital emergency rooms, local businesses and emergency homeless shelters. None of these entities receives state funding adequate for the demands placed on them.
Reducing the capacity of an institution like a mental hospital is in no way an action that cuts costs or saves money. It is in fact a simple action of cost shifting, of placing what is arguably a state responsibility instead on the shoulders of this community and its citizens. And in these very tough economic times, the state government’s safety net programs should be funded aggressively at least to the level of the extra demand created by those same tough times. A safety net to catch those at the most risk is a part of the contract we have with our own government, and it needs to be honored.
Sharon Brasslett, President
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter Board of Directors
Dennis Marble, Executive Director
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter
BREWER, Maine — The Bangor Daily News and its publisher were honored Tuesday evening by the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
At its annual business meeting and dinner held at the Eagles Club, the shelter recognized several individuals and organizations for their exemplary service, including Publisher Richard J. Warren and the BDN as Organizational Volunteer of the Year and John Dougherty of Oxford Networks as individual Volunteer of the Year.
Last year the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter provided emergency shelter to 602 individuals who stayed a collective 13,094 nights. It also provided support to an additional 2,000 individuals and families in the form of meals, emergency food, crisis stabilization, a safe alternative to the streets and referrals to other services.
More than half of the shelter’s annual operating budget comes from local or private sources.
Article taken from Bangor Daily News - http://bangordailynews.com
URL to article: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/20/business/bdn-publisher-honored-by-homeless-shelter/
Also, late last week, Mark Horvath stopped by bringing press, donations, and greetings to BAHS. Below is an article and you can also check out his website at invisiblepeople.tv.
Added: SEPT 2011
Advocate for the homeless & online sensation, Mark Horvath of Invisible People will be making stops in the Northeast Region throughout the end of September and October to help generate more support to help end homelessness nation wide.
To help make Mark’s trip possible, GMC has provided him with a brand new, 2011 Terrain to drive through Canada and across the United States.
Varney Buick GMC in Bangor, Maine, will be Mark’s first stop in the U.S. and they will host Mark for a meet & greet at their dealership and change his oil on the house. Varney,GMC, who regularly gives back to the local community, was so moved by Mark’s mission that they jumped at the chance to host him at their dealership and contribute to the local Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
Added: SEPT 2011
Copyright 2010 Bangor Area Homeless Shelter
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