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A new report calls for a temporary homeless shelter in Lewiston by this fall

A new report recommends that the city of Lewiston work to create another temporary homeless shelter by this fall, and promote the development of more than 180 additional shelter beds across the area.

Those recommendations are from an ad hoc group formed to advise city leaders on addressing homelessness. The report says that while Lewiston has the third-highest number of shelter beds in Maine, guests are still being turned away due to a lack of capacity.

Committee co-chair Craig Saddlemire said that many groups of people effectively have no access to shelter beds, such as homeless families who wish to remain together, or those who need trained staff to support them.

"So those are some examples of the many groups that are not really getting access to the resources they need," he said.

The committee was formed earlier this year, after the Lewiston City Council responded to a proposed 24-hour, low-barrier shelter by imposing a six-month moratorium on new shelters.

According to the report, more than 1,000 Lewiston residents have experienced homelessness over the last year, a problem that's been driven by evictions and a lack of affordable housing.

Saddlemire said that the city needs year-round operations, but until that can happen, "in order to protect people, we think, by Oct. 1, 2022, we need to have another temporary shelter in operation."

The council was set to discuss the report and its recommendations at a meeting on Tuesday night.