Police in Bangor are planning to clear out roughly a dozen homeless residents living along the city’s waterfront.
At a city council workshop on Wednesday night, Police Chief Mark Hathaway said that after receiving several complaints, officers and health workers will ask the unhoused residents to leave the waterfront and give them 24 hours to find a new place to stay.
“There will be some resistance, we appreciate that. But we can help with transportation, and relocating folks, and finding better solutions than where they are currently,” he said.
City councilors largely supported the action, but wanted to ensure that there would be enough room for residents in local shelters.
“But my concern, and I think this is where, everybody has touched upon it, if we hit a critical mass, what do we do with people if there is no place to go?” said Councilor Laura Supica.
The city says that it has seen a sharp rise in homeless residents staying in tents this fall. In recent weeks, city staff they have counted up to 140 people without shelter in the city — a significant increase from about 35-40 in recent years.
City staff say about two dozen shelter beds are currently available in Bangor, and they’re also assisting in setting up multiple warming shelters, which they expect to be open by mid-November.
The city has also begun speaking with nearby municipalities to find more regional solutions to the issue.