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Portland City Manager Proposes Limiting Homeless Shelter Capacity

Portland City Manager John Jennings has included a proposal in his $207 million budget that would limit the number of people who can stay in city homeless shelters.

For decades, Portland has accepted any homeless person who wants to stay at a city shelter, including an adult and family shelters, as well as overflow locations.

“And then we’ve had to have an overflow for the overflow,” he says.

Jennings has proposed eliminating those secondary overflows.

“It’s just unsustainable for the city of 67,000 people to be the service center for an entire state and, quite frankly, for an entire region of the country,” he says.

Jennings has also proposed scaling back a program that provides financial assistance to help documented immigrants who are seeking asylum. He says those currently in the program would not be affected.

The current budget includes $200,000 for the fund, which has already been overexpended by $36,000.

Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage opposed general assistance benefits for asylum seekers and stopped reimbursing cities.