Portland groups plan to convert warehouse into transitional housing facility for new immigrants
As Portland struggles to find emergency shelter for newly arrived asylum seekers, the Greater Portland Council of Governments and Habitat for Humanity are planning to convert an empty warehouse in Portland into a permanent transitional housing facility.
Belinda Ray, director of strategic partnerships at GPCOG, said the facility would initially house asylum seekers, but in the long run could be open to anyone in need of transitional housing.
Ray said the goal is to provide safe, stable housing as people get on their feet.
"It really is geared at people who, once a few key pieces are in place, they can move to maintain their own permanent housing," she said, adding that it would create a centralized location for residents to access social services.
"It really fits the model of having a critical mass of people in one place so that service providers have one place to go to," she said.
Ray said the space could house up to 75 people at a time, with the potential to build more units on the same lot. She said the next step is to get approval from the city to move forward with the project.
GPCOG is hoping to secure state funding for the project, in addition to money from the group's Safe in Maine fund. The plan is to have the space operational before next winter.
More than 780 asylum seekers have arrived in Portland this year in need of emergency shelter, according to city officials.