WASHINGTON, D.C. –At the invitation of U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Julián Castro, spent the day in Maine.
This afternoon, Senator Collins and Secretary Castro toured the New Beginnings’ Ann Geiger Center in Lewiston to see firsthand how organizations in Maine are working to end runaway and youth homelessness.
“I feel so honored to have had Secretary Castro with me here today. I told Secretary Castro that I wanted him to come to Maine so that he could see the work we are doing to end homelessness in our state.
“It has been truly inspiring to learn more about the wonderful work that New Beginnings is doing for homeless youth in this area. New Beginnings is a wonderful model of how organizations across our country can successfully reach out to young people who find themselves homeless.
“The wonderful team at New Beginnings is clearly changing lives, but it is the young people themselves—who were so generous in sharing their stories with us today—who have had the strength, the courage, and the determination to turn their lives around.
“The Secretary and I spend a great deal of time in Washington pouring over budget numbers, looking at statistics and it is so refreshing and important for us to hear directly from people who are affected by the policy decisions that we make. And that is why I was so delighted that the Secretary accepted my invitation to talk with the young people who had participated in these programs.
Earlier this morning, Secretary Castro and Senator Collins attended a housing forum with representatives from twenty-three of the twenty-four Maine Public Housing Authorities.
“These individuals are on the front lines of serving those who might otherwise be homeless or who are just one paycheck away from homelessness. Their input is crucially important to developing and funding the programs aimed at combating homelessness,” Senator Collins stated.
In the Senate, Senator Collins works closely with Secretary Castro in her job as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over HUD.
This April, Senator Collins’ subcommittee held a hearing to examine efforts by the Secretary’s Department to prevent and end youth homelessness. At the invitation of Senator Collins, an alumni of New Beginnings, Brittany Dixon, shared powerful testimony about her experience as part of the New Beginnings program.