Portland Health Initiatives Net $1.5 Million Through Pingree’s Community Project Funding Requests
$1 million will help Northern Light Mercy Hospital expand access to English language acquisition services in greater Portland and $535,000 will support recovery housing at Amistad’s Freedom Place in Portland
Programs at Northern Light Mercy Hospital and Amistad will receive a total of $1.5 million in Community Project Funding through the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill, Maine’s First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today.
Mercy Hospital in Portland will use the $1 million in federal funding to substantially increase access to its English Language Acquisition Program, with the goal of supporting participants in advancing in health care or related career pathways.
“Because of language barriers, many new Mainers are prevented from seeking opportunities in health care and other professions where we so desperately need workers. Through a collaboration between Mercy Hospital, the Maine Department of Labor, Portland Adult Education, and other immigrant advocacy groups, this funding will address Maine’s notable gap in language and workforce training accessibility,” Pingree said. “As someone who strongly believes immigrants are a vital part of our communities, I’m thrilled this project I helped fund will work to advance pathways for immigrants and support our workforce.”
“Through a partnership with Portland Adult Education and the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Northern Light Mercy Hospital will use this funding to increase access to English language acquisition services in the region,” said Melissa Skahan, Vice President of Mission at Northern Light Mercy Hospital. “Working together, we will open a dedicated learning space, launch a digital language literacy program, and hire instructors and success coaches to help new Mainers upskill and grow the local area workforce for careers in health care and beyond. We thank Congresswoman Pingree for her leadership and support of this project.”
Amistad’s Portland-based women’s recovery-focused homeless shelter, Freedom Place at 66 State, will use the $535,000 in federal funds secured by Pingree to provide permanent, peer-supported, and recovery-focused housing for 38 women who previously experienced homelessness or incarceration, and who face challenges related to substance use disorder, mental health, and histories of trauma that include the experience of human trafficking and domestic violence.
“From substance abuse counseling and recovery support services to offering a safe space and healthy meals to those in need, Freedom Place is an essential resource for Maine women on the road to recovery,” Pingree said. “With the funding I fought to include in the government funding bill, Freedom Place will be better equipped to support women enduring addiction, homelessness, poverty, abuse, and hunger through an adaptive and peer-supported enviornment.”
“Amistad is so grateful to the U.S. Congress for their support of our project to provide supported, recovery-focused housing for women who have struggled with substance use disorders and chronic homelessness,” Amistad Executive Director Brian Townsend said. “This project is a lifeline for our community’s most vulnerable women, and this support from Congress will allow for its full implementation and ultimate sustainability. We are so appreciative of Representative Pingree’s effort and advocacy on behalf of this critically needed community resource.”