Department of Economic and Community Development

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of Maine's congregate settings, including homeless shelters, which have had to reduce capacity.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A proposal by the state Department of Economic and Community Development to bolster a crime-fighting grant at the expense of other spending projects is coming under fire from more than a dozen community leaders, who want a more balanced approach to block grant funding.

But department officials say the Safe Neighborhood grant program also has a positive effect on community development.