Mainer Proposes To Convert Cruise Ship Into Homeless Shelter

Oct 1, 2018

A Maine nonprofit director is looking to study whether a reclaimed cruise ship could be used to house underserved populations.

Memory Works Director Kenneth Capron intends to request a $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to conduct a feasibility study.

“Portland just happens to be really the best laboratory I can imagine because we have all the pieces to do the study,” Capron says. Those pieces include potential collaborators: the Muskie Institute, a lawyer specializing in Maritime and waterfront law, and experts in mutual benefit corporation financing.

The research would look at the logistics, funding and sustainability of turning a cruise ship into housing for homeless people, immigrants, and single parents in need of affordable options.

He says getting the study funded and on the books could benefit other locations.

"And that's the end result that we end up publishing a document that says, 'That's what we discovered, do with it as you please.'"

Capron suspects the project will be determined to be feasible whether or not it gains widespread support. Capron is asking for stakeholder input Tuesday at a 1:00 pm meeting in Portland City Hall prior to submitting the grant application.