Camden, ME, August 10, 2015 – Within the first six months of the company’s Hope@Home initiative, Camden National Bank has donated a total of $20,000 to more than 30 homeless shelters across the state and has helped raise awareness around the issue of homelessness in Maine. Through the community-based, statewide program, for every home Camden National Bank finances, $100 is donated to a homeless shelter in the community of the new homeowner, and in the homeowner’s name. Of the total amount donated so far, the counties receiving the largest percentage of the funds include Hancock County with 22 percent, Knox County with 20 percent, Penobscot County with 12 percent, and Piscataquis County with 12 percent.
“Camden National is pleased to donate $20,000 to shelters across the state of Maine that provide critical resources and aid the homeless every day,” said Greg Dufour, president and chief executive officer of Camden National Bank. “We would also like to thank our customers and communities for their support of the program and help in bringing additional resources to these organizations. These new homebuyers feel good knowing that when they purchase a home, they’re also providing hope to their neighbors in need.”
Launched in mid-January, the idea for Hope@Home began when Dufour realized there were a growing number of homeless individuals, families and children in the Midcoast area where he resides. In Knox County alone, there are currently more than 400 homeless adults and families and close to twice that amount requiring assistance and support through local service organizations.
“Hope@Home has been a precedent setting program on many levels,” said Stephanie Primm, executive director of the Knox County Homeless Coalition. “It is has set a new bar for the rest of the business community as an example of collaboration between business and nonprofit leadership for a cause and has helped us educate others about how significant the issue of homelessness is in our communities. Although many people don’t realize that homelessness is a problem in Maine, in the last 16 months, the Knox County Homeless Coalition alone has helped over 750 people, with close to half of those being children.”
Primm added, “Through its educational aspects, Hope@Home has also helped remove the stigma attached to homelessness and has helped people better understand how many hard working families are vulnerable due to economic, health, employment, societal, and many other extenuating factors. It is a wonderful program, and we are very grateful for all of its benefits.”
Homelessness is a growing problem in Maine, with the most recent numbers available showing a 26 percent increase in 2013. Earlier this year, the Maine Housing Authority also disclosed that, during this same time, shelters across Maine reported a 5 percent increase in the number of people seeking space, as well as an 11 percent jump in the total number of nights people stayed.
“The funding from the Hope@Home program goes directly to the people who need it most and also helps raise awareness around the issue of homelessness throughout the state.” said Dennis Marble, executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. “In 2014, the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter provided overnight shelter to 482 people who collectively stayed with us for 12,615 nights. We are grateful for Camden National’s support in helping us ensure that people in the greater Bangor area have a safe place to stay, and for the people in our communities who are giving back in this way.”
According to Bread of Life Ministries in Augusta, their 26-bed family shelter is full virtually every night and turns away close to 800 people every year due to lack of room in the facility. Guests in the shelter are a mix of families, couples, single parents with children, and singles that stay an average of 35-37 days. Over 60 percent of those in the family shelter are families, with 1 of every 3 being a child. In addition, Bread of Life also operates a 12-bed veterans’ shelter that serves approximately 180 different veterans each year. The average length of stay for its veterans is 90 days.
“For almost 30 years, our facility has been providing a safe and welcoming place to those in our community looking for shelter and assistance, and the Hope@Home program has been an incredible asset in helping us meet the increasing needs that exist here,” said John Richardson, executive director of Bread of Life Ministries. “We are very grateful to Camden National for being such a strong partner in our mission to feed and house the homeless in the greater Augusta area, and we applaud this local business for reaching into the heart of our community to help make a difference and be a good neighbor.”
For more information on Hope@Home or how to join Camden National Bank’s efforts to help Maine’s homeless individuals, children and families, please visit here.
About Camden National Bank
Camden National Bank is a full-service community bank with a network of 44 banking offices throughout Maine plus a commercial lending office in Manchester, New Hampshire. Camden National Corporation is the holding company of two financial services companies including, Camden National Bank and the wealth management company, Acadia Trust, N.A. Acadia Trust offers investment management and fiduciary services with offices in Portland and Ellsworth. Located at Camden National Bank, Camden Financial Consultants offers full-service brokerage and insurance services. Learn more at www.CamdenNational.com. Member FDIC.