York County Shelter Programs

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PO Box 820, Alfred, Maine, 04002


Green Story

Understandably, most programs benefitting our most vulnerable citizens - the homeless - do not have the time or resources to integrate sustainability into their operations.The demands are too great; the time is too short; and the funds are seemingly always in short supply. In our area, where the majority of residential buildings are heated with oil, charities often find themselves at the whim of market prices for oil. Many charities must simply absorb the rising energy costs, and cut back on other expenses, or even programs that would save money in the long term.

But the York County Shelter Programs (YSCP), which operates emergency homeless shelters, a food pantry and free meals kitchen, substance abuse and mental health treatment services, legal assistance, educational and vocational training, and transitional housing, has made sustainablility a key component within its mission. This is despite the fact that with an emergency shelter in Alfred and 24 other houses across York County, YSCP consumed over 31,000 gallons of fuel in 2009.

To address this, YCSP's Energy Committee has spearheaded multiple green initiatives across their operations. Many of them deal with energy, as the committee is keenly aware that energy costs (and therefore, usage) must be managed and contained in order for monthly expenses to be viable. They also have instituted composting and recycling programs, and source local free-range food products. "Despite ongoing financial challenges YCSP is really striving to implement green practices in all aspects of their operations," said Mary Doyle, YSCP Public Relations Director.

What makes us green?

  • Five green residences, including Energy Star applicances, solar panels, and efficient insulation, offered to qualifying families and individuals
  • Comprehensive composting and recycling programs
  • Energy Audits for some of YSCP's facilities
  • Alternative energy and radiant floor heating at Vinton Hall
  • CFL lighting throughout the main campus
  • Sourcing free-range food products from a local farm
  • Energy management measures in the Winter (i.e. insulation and weather-stripping)
  • Using clotheslines instead of dryers in residential buildings
  • Applying for wood furnace to heat emergency shelter
  • Water conservation devices for shower heads and kitchen sinks
  • Energy-efficient windows at the main Shelter
  • Receiving consultation from Luke Senecal of "The Heating Guy" in Acton to regulate heating systems