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Maine

Lewiston mayor creates ad hoc homelessness committee after council votes on shelter moratorium

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David Goldman
/
Associated Press file
The sun rises over Downtown Lewiston, Maine, Friday, March 17, 2017.

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline signed an order Friday to create an ad hoc shelter committee to reduce homelessness.

His order comes just days after the city council voted to pursue a moratorium on homeless shelters after considering a proposed 24-bed low barrier shelter. Some councilors said more time is needed to examine the issue of homelessness, but Sheline says Lewiston doesn't have time to wait.

"People experiencing homelessness are not our enemy," says Sheline. "We can't act like homelessness isn't an issue here. We can't act like we have the services we need. Not when families are sleeping outside. Not when veterans are carrying all they own on their backs."

The committee will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the extent of homelessness in Lewiston and what services are needed. It will then make recommendations to the city council.