Through a grant to Preble Street, KeyBank is supporting Housing First, aiming to end homelessness in Portland, Maine, while addressing emergency care and other needs of the chronically homeless.

“KeyBank has been a great friend and supporter of Preble Street for many years, and we’re grateful for that long-standing partnership,” said Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann to Mainebiz . “We’re especially grateful for the investment KeyBank is making to create solutions for people struggling with homelessness in Maine. This extraordinary support not only saves lives but is also a cost-effective solution to the endless cycle of shelters, emergency rooms, jails, and detox programs that chronically homeless people endure year after year.”

Bolstering the Housing First Program

Preble Street’s Housing First program is built on the successful approach of offering homeless individuals immediate access to permanent, affordable housing, which creates a stable platform for dealing with multiple factors that can lead to housing insecurity. Contributing factors can include health problems, substance abuse disorders, and educational or vocational deficits. Currently, Preble Street can provide this housing for 55 people; KeyBank’s grant will increase that capacity to 85.

“We are pleased to partner with Preble Street to help tackle the issue of chronic homelessness in Portland,” said KeyBank Maine Market President Sterling Kozlowski . “Moving homeless people off the streets is the right thing to do from a moral and health perspective, and it is a proven first step in helping them get the services they need to live independently as healthy, productive members of our community. The Housing First model makes economic sense, and we are proud to make this investment toward improving lives.”

Making a Long-Term and Widespread Difference

Preble Street estimates that thanks to the KeyBank grant, their team can achieve a 30% reduction in the number of chronically homeless in Portland, and reduce costs associated with chronic homelessness – emergency care and corrections, for example – by at least 70%. The grant will also fund the addition of a Residential Services Director to ensure Preble Street’s services are as effective and efficient as possible.

The grant is part of KeyBank’s National Community Benefits Plan, a five-year, $16.5 billion commitment to community development and investment across 15 states. Targeted areas for funding include mortgage, small business lending, community development lending, and investment and philanthropy.

KeyBank Gets It Done

The financing from KeyBank, which got this project off the ground, was the fastest firm commitment to finance new construction in the history of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Said Dan Bythewood, Co-founder and President of La Cité Development, “At La Cité, we are motivated by opportunities to improve neighborhoods. Key’s ability to provide fast financing solutions helped us work with the City of Baltimore and move forward with the first phase of construction of Center\West.”