December 03, 2019
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Some asylum seekers to move from Portland Expo Center to housing in Brunswick

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Cots and belongings stand in rows atop the basketball court in the Portland Expo building June 19. Hundreds of new asylum seekers, mainly from The Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, are now being temporarily housed in the building.

The city of Portland has made arrangements to move several asylum seekers from emergency shelters in the city to private housing in Brunswick.

Brunswick administrators say they are expecting up to 40 of the new arrivals, who have come to Portland in recent weeks after entering by way of the southern U.S. border. More than 250 asylum seekers are staying at an emergency shelter inside the Portland Expo building. But the shelter is only available until mid-August.

Portland Communications Director Jessica Grondin said a developer offered the Brunswick housing rent-free for a period of time, but the city of Portland will continue to ensure that services such as food, education and health care are provided to the families.

“It’s those kinds of services that we need to make sure are still accessible for folks,” Grondin said. “We certainly just don’t want to move families and not have them have the resources that they need to be able to be here and thrive.”

Portland has budgeted about $200,000 in its Community Support Fund to assist asylum seekers and has raised an additional $800,000 through donations. The city says it can accommodate about 110 people in overflow shelters but expects to need to find housing for about 150 people over the next month. One option is a “host home” program, in which local families open up spaces in their house.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

 



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