May 26, 2018
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Manna seeks permits for family shelter

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Manna Ministries Inc. has filed applications for permits to build a family homeless shelter at its Main Street site which would be the only facility of its kind in Greater Bangor.

Bill Rae, Manna’s executive director, said the building would include eight apartment units for women and children and common space for support services.

“The fact is, we have a tremendous need,” he said. “Families can’t go to regular shelters and we end up putting them up in hotels at the city’s expense.”

Bangor Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wellington said Monday that he has received permit applications, but the matter has yet to go before the city’s planning board.

“The initial application needs some revisions related to setback concerns,” he said, referring to the potential site’s proximity to Interstate 395. “But I suspect it will go before the board soon.”

Manna, a faith-based nonprofit organization founded in 1991, offers services to those in need from its main facility on lower Main Street. It also runs Derek House, a shelter for men fighting drug addiction.

Still, with all it offers, Manna has never been able to house families. The closest family-friendly facility is the Emmaus Shelter in Ellsworth.

Shawn Yardley, director of Bangor Health and Community Services, agreed that the need for a family shelter in Bangor is great and praised Manna’s initiative.

“We’ve been having ongoing discussions with the faith community to come up with a better way to respond to families who are displaced,” Yardley said.

Most families get funneled to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, but by all accounts, that facility is not amenable to children, so families often have nowhere to go.

Rae hopes to change that. Plans call for a two-story, 6,400-square-foot building that would be constructed in the back corner of Manna’s parking lot. If permits are approved, Rae said, construction could begin next spring.

“In the meantime, we’ve started a capital campaign to raise $1 million,” he said.

It isn’t clear how much money has been raised so far. Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications of Bangor is coordinating that campaign, according to Rae, but a spokesperson did not return several calls for comment.


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