The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter (BAHS) is a non-profit corporation governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community members from the greater Bangor area. Board members come from the professional and business community and bring a wide range of skills and experience to BAHS. The Board of Directors is committed to the BAHS’s mission and vision and fulfills its responsibility by setting direction and policy for the organization and advocating on behalf of the people we serve.
Mishael Romanelli, President
William Nealley, Vice President
Lyndsey Violette, Treasurer
Jenny Gage, Executive Secretary
Larry Geaghan has been on the board for two years. He got involved with the shelter when he was asked to join the board of directors. He meets with other board members quarterly to discuss the shelter’s business and get updates on operations. He is a small business owner, so he understands how to operate an organization. His contribution to the shelter is very important, he attends board meetings and oversees the shelter’s operation and finances. On occasion he acts as an advisor. He believes that his position is very fulfilling and thinks that the shelter is a safe option and the focus at the shelter is to get folks into more permanent housing. He wishes society would help the homeless more by figuring out a way to help people. He believes that the main causes of homelessness are drug abuse and mental illness. He thinks the shelter will continue much as it has into the future. He also sees the shelter increasing options to get people into housing.
Maulian Dana, the Tribal Ambassador has been on the board since 2020. The reason that she started working at the shelter was due to her daughter. Her daughter decided on her 9th birthday that she wanted to raise money and donations for the shelter instead of getting presents. They dropped them off after her birthday party and the folks there were so thankful that they decided to sing her happy birthday while they were having dinner. She believes that it was so inspiring and moving. She is turning 17 next month and has done this for her birthday every year since. In 2019 the shelter gave her an award for her giving. Her background aligns very well with the position that she holds on the board. She is the Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador and the shelter is the closest one to the tribal community. Her job is to advocate for policy issues and work for the betterment of our community. The work with the shelter helps her feel like she is making a difference for unhoused people in her tribe, it’s in line with what she sees as her work for the nation. She hopes that she brings a connection to the Penobscot Nation in a tangible way. She believes that her position on the board is very fulfilling. She also believes that it’s very important to provide shelter for the homeless. In her work she is often trying to get to the hearts and minds of people. To do that you have to be constantly considering the humanity we all share. “Homeless people are just like us; they just don’t have a home at this time. Our culture teaches us that we are connected to everyone, and nobody is above anyone else. If anyone in our society is suffering it brings us all down and when the most vulnerable among us are cared for our whole human race is uplifted.” She believes that we need to see people as human beings and not as statistics or problems. Any one of us is a few paychecks or tragedies away from being homeless so we need to work towards a better safety net and programming for sure but also a philosophical revolution in our thinking needs to happen. The causes of homelessness are intergenerational trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence, inequity in an economic and social sense and poverty. She sees the homeless shelter in the future as growing and thriving. She thinks the shelter is in great shape and responds well to an ever-growing crisis. She would love to see the shelter expand and think they are on the right track with how they operate currently.
Dr. Jim Clarke
Former Board Members:
Pat Kimball, the Vice President of the Bangor Homeless Shelter, has worked for the board for over 4 years, this will be her last year due to her term ending. Before she started at the Homeless Shelter, she worked for over 30 years for a Substance Use and Mental Health Organization that helped people who were struggling. She noticed that most of them were homeless at some point in their lives due to the correlation between homelessness and substance use or mental illnesses. She believed that it was a no-brainer to start working with the homeless shelter to better help the community as a whole. As Vice Chair of the Board of Directors she serves at the pleasure of the board by backing up the Chair in case they aren’t there or are unavailable to complete their activities. As a Board Member she oversees the policies, procedures, and the budget for the shelter, and at their meetings they make policy decisions which affect the Homeless Shelter. Pat believes that being a member of the committee is very fulfilling because she believes that the homeless shelter is essential to people’s health and wellbeing. She is able to give back to the community and she is creating a better atmosphere which will help people go from homeless to housed. She hopes that everyone becomes housed at one point, but this is a very hard goal to reach. She says that society can do its part in helping the homeless by stopping judging the homeless. There’s a stigma surrounding homelessness and people believe that they are lazy and just don’t want to work but in actuality, most homeless people just need some help getting back on their feet. Most of the homeless people struggle with substance use disorders or mental illnesses. She knows that the Bangor Homeless Shelter will still be running in 5 to 10 years because it’s a long-standing shelter. The Bangor Homeless Shelter she says adjusts their care based on the times.
Lisa has been on the board for two terms, and she will be terming off the shelter board December 2023. She plans to stay involved with the hike committee though. She became involved with the shelter when she was a member of the Bangor Planning Board. Boyd Kronholm presented before on the board in connection with a project proposal for a family shelter, and it resonated with her enough that she mentioned in the meeting that she had once experienced homelessness. The shelter board encourages people with lived experience to join the work, and she was invited to join as a board member. She imagines that she has not spent nearly as much time at the actual shelter as past and probably future board presidents, largely due to the pandemic. She believes they have excellent staff and volunteers, and a key part of the board’s work is to ensure they attract and retain excellent people and give them what they need to do the job. As the board president, she largely has worked to ensure the board meetings are productive for all members of the organization. She has lived experience with homelessness and has also been a board member for the [then] Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter in Presque Isle, Maine. She hope that she have accomplished two major [for her] things: 1) to encourage as many board members as possible to ask questions, bring their ideas, and have some fun while doing what can be very stressful work; and 2) to remind people that the contributions – whether through work, volunteerism, or funds, can and does make a difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness. She says that the position is very fulfilling, and she hopes to bring some compassion to others as well. She feels like she could have done a lot more had she not stretched herself so thin with two other boards at the same time for a few years. She tried to do too much and wound up not doing nearly enough. She believes that shelter is the most basic of necessities. Why wouldn’t we make it available to everyone? Whatever organized system of agency we have on Earth – government, business, etc. – is about us as humans surviving and helping others survive as well, at the most basic level. “What kind of high-level species are we if we don’t even take care of ourselves and each other?” She believes that the best way to help the homeless is relatively easy and cheap, she believes everyone needs to start with a change of thinking. It can happen to anyone. Some are there by a mix of circumstances and decisions, and some are there much more for either the former or the latter. Compassion doesn’t cost any money, and treating people with dignity doesn’t either. It doesn’t require a policy. She thinks people would be utterly shocked if they knew just how many of their acquaintances have experienced some level of housing insecurity. She would ask that the next time people want to make a comment judging or categorizing people based on their housing situations: Just don’t. “Be grateful for what you have; share what you can. The causes of homelessness are myriad. They know that housing stock availability is obviously an issue, but once you start to pull on the thread of who gets access to the housing that is available and why there isn’t more, you start to pull out the pay inequities, hurdles in gaining work, transportation and childcare, systemic privilege and oppression …. There is no one answer.” In her case, her and her family were unhoused due to being in a very structurally inadequate building, having small children, a severely mentally ill relative coming back to also live there, and no rent or purchase options in our affordability range, even though her husband was working full time. She hopes to see the shelter very differently in 5 to 10 years. She’d like to think that it has become a park or something because we no longer need homelessness services. If the shelter is still operating at the rate of housing people and diverting homelessness as it is today, she will consider that a win, because it is doing an excellent job. She would like to see more people who have been helped by the shelter be able to come back and serve as board members, volunteers, staff, even as E.D. when Boyd retires.