The mission of the Elder Abuse Institute of Maine (EAIME) is to promote the awareness and prevention of elder abuse through training, collaboration, outreach and advocacy. EAIME was founded as a community coalition in 1995 and received nonprofit status in 2003. EAIME provides confidential transitional housing and advocacy services for older victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. EAIME's signature housing and supportive services program, Martha's Cottage, responds to the unmet need for transitional housing for Mainers 60 years and older who are being abused by an intimate partner or family member. EAIME's services include no-cost transitional housing, safety planning, funds for food and transportation, court advocacy, and assistance with permanent housing applications and landlord negotiation. EAIME has served over 400 seniors since 2011 and is a statewide leader in training service providers on this issue.
Until we began our program, there were no transitional or emergency beds specifically for older victims; family shelters do not meet their needs and therefore options include short-term stays in hotel rooms. For too long, the needs of older victims had been largely ignored. Our program changed this. We are the only agency in the State whose sole purpose is to serve elder victims of abuse.
General Description of Services:
The Elder Abuse Institute of Maine has three overarching goals to ensure elder victims of abuse have the resources they need to live safe from abuse and harm.
Goal 1 is to ensure that older individuals experiencing intimate partner violence and their trusted allies from across the state are aware of our services. Specific activities include extensive outreach and educational programs partnering with statewide service providers to increase awareness and knowledge.
Goal 2 is to provide transitional housing and supportive voluntary services and tailored resources to older individuals experiencing intimate partner violence through dedicated transitional housing sites. Specific activities include responding to calls, conducting intake and referral services, moving clients into one of our Martha’s Cottages, and helping clients stabilize within our housing while developing a safety plan to include resource procurement with the goal of transitioning into permanent, safe housing.
And, Goal 3 is to assist older individuals experiencing violence who reside in our transitional housing sites to move into and establish long-term tenancy in permanent safe housing. Specific activities include assisting clients to secure housing and remain in contact with clients to provide support and service linkage for an additional 6 months.
Through our housing, referral and outreach efforts, we reach over 2,000 people annually. We work with clients from all over Maine. We have offices in Brunswick and Presque Isle.
While our offices are based in Portland and Presque Isle, we partner with organizations throughout the state of Maine to provide outreach, education, and support services for clients from anywhere in Maine.
Elder Abuse Related Services:
EAIME serves older individuals over the age of 60 who are victims of, or at risk of, abuse and who are seeking safety from an unsafe living situation. We currently operate several Martha’s Cottages located in both rural and urban counties in Maine. Our transitional housing services are unique in this country- there are very few crisis shelters that cater specifically to older victims. We are fortunate to have funding that allows us to provide quick housing at no cost for victims of abuse, with no income eligibility, and the ability to work with survivors for up to 24 months to help them transition into permanent, safe housing.
Intimate partner abuse and family violence have been and continue to be prevalent. Survivors of family violence and their advocates have developed a solid foundation over the past fifty years that challenges the secrecy of this often-hidden crime. While enormous gains have been made, most of the focus has been on younger women while cases of elder abuse and neglect remain largely invisible. Since our founding in 2003, we have made incremental progress in elevating the issue of elder abuse through statewide outreach and advocacy efforts and providing a first-of-its-kind Maine signature home for elders escaping abuse. Through our Martha’s Cottage Program, we offer a transitional space where older survivors can live confidentially and comfortably while working with an advocate to achieve long-term safety. Our original cottage first opened in 2011 and has since provided over 3,500 bed nights to over 40 survivors.
We also have a strong focus on education and outreach to spread awareness of elder abuse, the signs of abuse, and what can be done to respond to cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. We reach over 1,500 people annually through statewide presentations and workshops. Increased awareness is a vital component of helping victims access the services and programs they need to move toward safe and healthy outcomes.