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January 4, 2018

Camden National reaches $220K milestone in donations to homeless shelters

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Gregory Dufour, president and CEO of Camden National Bank, reports the bank has committed more than $220,000 over the past two years in support of nearly 50 homeless shelters in three states.

Camden National Bank, Maine's largest community bank, has donated over $220,000 to nearly 50 homeless shelters in three states over the past two years.

In 2015, the bank launched the community-based, statewide "Hope@Home" program to drive more awareness of homelessness in Maine and to provide vital assistance to those in need. Through this initiative, for every home financed through Camden National Bank, $100 is donated to a homeless shelter in the community of the new homeowner.

"It fills me with pride to see how much local shelters have benefitted from this program," Camden National Bank President and CEO Greg Dufour said in a news release announcing the milestone. "When we first decided to start this project, we consulted with some of Maine's key homelessness advocates to create an initiative that would have an immediate impact."

While homelessness rates climb across the country they are on a slight decline in Maine, according to data from the Statewide Homeless Council. More importantly, lengths of stays in homelessness decreased 21% from 2016 to 2017 and were down 63% the previous year.

The funds are provided without spending restrictions, something advocates say is critical to Hope@Home's success.

"We know that unrestricted financial contributions help shelters provide the services they need to move people from homelessness to housing, one at a time," said Cullen Ryan, acting chair of the Statewide Homeless Council. "Camden National's generosity has made them one of — if not the largest — private donors we've ever worked with. The bank's effort is commendable. We have a long way to go to end homelessness, and this kind of help is huge."

Program to continue in 2018

Camden National Bank plans to continue the Hope@Home program in 2018.

One recipient is Hospitality House, a family homeless shelter in Rockport that has received over $10,000 from Camden National Bank's program since its inception.

"Thanks to this funding we are able to repair a car which keeps a client employed, or pay for an uninsured client who needs critical emotional or physical health services — it's invaluable," said Hospitality House Executive Director Stephanie Primm. "In winter, we always see an increase in the number of homeless families, so continued support from outside partners is critical to meeting these unfortunate demands."

Primm attributed a spike in demand right now in part to seasonal job loss, a severe lack of affordable housing concurrent with steadily increasing housing costs.

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