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Maine plans to open new shelter for displaced asylum seekers

May 26, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The state of Maine plans to fund a temporary emergency shelter and renovated housing units in Portland, South Portland and Brunswick for asylum seekers, an adviser to the governor said.

Senior Housing Adviser Greg Payne disclosed the plan as South Portland on Wednesday joined Portland in announcing it could no longer guarantee housing for asylum seekers.

There would be an emergency shelter and renovated housing, with the state covering rent for up to two years, he told the Portland Press Herald.

Maine’s largest city has struggled to house the homeless with the addition of about 350 families – roughly 1,200 people – seeking asylum. That’s on top of 500 other adults experiencing homelessness.

Last week, 79 nonprofits urged the governor to take action the state level, saying “a coordinated, statewide effort is necessary to meet the moment.”

Payne said an emergency shelter would be aimed at providing shelter for about 280 people who’ll be displaced from motel rooms in coming weeks with the arrival of summer tourists.

The lease and set-up costs would be funded by the state, but the shelter would be operated by the city, he said.