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Portland City Council to consider a homelessness task force

Terry Rann
Robert F. Bukaty
Terry Rann, a homeless woman, wears a mask while panhandling during the coronavirus pandemic Friday, May 15, 2020, in Portland, Maine. State officials reported another 38 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus on Friday.

At a meeting Monday night, the Portland City Council will take up several measures aimed at helping residents experiencing homelessness, including a request that that state establish a homelessness management task force. Portland Mayor Kate Snyder said the city needs help with the rising number of people in need of housing and would like to see changes to general assistance laws, and the creation of a statewide shelter system.

"The state did respond in some ways to the issues we are facing but we don't want to go into [fiscal year] 24 with the same kinds of challenges so we have an opportunity to convene people to talk about solutions before the legislature convenes in January," Snyder said.

Snyder said Portland is facing a major housing burden, and can no longer provide all the assistance that is needed to address the issue. She says lawmakers did provide $10 million in the state's most recent budget to be distributed to towns and cities for general assistance.

Carol Bousquet