Dianne Clarke [Portland]

Dianne Clarke (dee) has been a voice for people experiencing homelessness for over a decade as an advocate with Preble Street’s Homeless Voices For Justice (HVJ). Once homeless herself, dee educates the public on the root causes of homelessness and organizes the homeless community to work with legislators to pass laws to help and protect those living life on the streets.

One recent successful HVJ campaign, in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office, resulted in passage of a law that added protections to homeless people from being targeted for vicious assaults. She has also conducted trainings at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to educate officers on the realities of homelessness.

When dee began participating in Women, Work and Community programs, she says, “I didn’t know my capabilities, but I always knew I wanted to create my own business or program, something with theater. WWC helped me to see the potentials of my advocacy work with HVJ.”

Dee was recently awarded a Kip Tiernan Fellowship from Rosie’s Place, a Boston-based homeless program. She will use it to develop The Community WELLness Center for women who visit the Preble Street shelter. “A lot of time, poor women don’t always feel comfortable accessing self-enrichment and other community programs that build community because they don’t feel welcome,” she says. Locating the Center at the shelter will make those programs available to more women.