September 24, 2019

Hot line for homeless faces possible shutdown

FAIRFIELD – A hot line that helps people facing homelessness will be shut down Monday unless it can scrape together $1,000 by Jan. 1.

“The fund has always been low, but right now, we’re unable to pay three or four months on the telephone bill,” said Jan Lightfoot, program coordinator of Hospitality House Inc., the organization that runs the Homeless Crisis Hotline.

The Fairfield-based organization serves people across Maine. About 6,500 people use the hot line annually, which has been running for nearly 12 years, Lightfoot said.

Some callers do not have enough money to pay rent or may be facing eviction.

Many have children or are pregnant. Some are elderly and have medical problems.

Hot-line volunteers refer them to services and explain their legal rights.

“Some people are about to be evicted from their homes, probably illegally, but they don’t know their rights,” Lightfoot said. “In general, we tell them their rights and connect them with Pine Tree Legal if the system is not working with them.”

The organization is run entirely by volunteers. It costs about $8,000 each year to run the program.

The phone number is (800) 438-3890.

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