PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s largest city says it can no longer guarantee housing for asylum-seeking families.
The city of Portland informed organizations that work with asylum seekers and federal agencies that there’s no more room. The city was sheltering more than 1,700 people, including homeless individuals and families, this week, the Portland Press Herald reported.
The city can no longer guarantee shelter and its staff may not be able to assist in making alternative arrangements, Kristen Dow, director of health and human services for the city, wrote in a letter.
No one has been turned away yet.
But the interim city manager said the city may have to resort to providing General Assistance vouchers and letting people find housing on their own, instead of placing them in a shelter or motel.
The need for social distancing during the pandemic and a housing shortage in a hot real estate market are factors along with a growing number of people seeking asylum, officials said. The number of motel and hotel rooms will soon shrink with the arrival of the summer tourism season.
“I’m very troubled by having to do this, but there aren’t any other options,” said interim City Manager Danielle West.
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