A Bangor hotel will serve as shelter space for the city’s homeless population for the rest of the year under an arrangement that will reserve half of the hotel for those suffering from COVID-19 and the other half for clients without the disease.
Penobscot Community Health Care, which manages the Hope House shelter in Bangor, will manage the Ramada Inn on Odlin, which has been housing some homeless clients during the pandemic so they can remain socially distanced from others.
The inn will be especially useful when the weather turns cold and a potential second wave of coronavirus cases comes this fall, PCHC president and CEO Lori Dwyer said in a statement.
“This new arrangement offers us the flexibility to get back to serving the same number of people in need that we were able to serve prior to the onset of the pandemic,” Dwyer said. “Because the pandemic triggered decreases in census at all the area shelters to ensure proper physical distancing, this solution gives us the opportunity to get those beds back into the community.”
“By securing the entire facility, we will be better able to foster a safe environment while continuing to link our guests with needed services,” she added. “We’ve worked closely with the City of Bangor to get to this good solution.”
The Maine State Housing Authority has signed a lease with the property owner for the coming month with the option to renew it each following month. The state is then contracting with PCHC to manage the facility and provide services there, Dwyer said.
The services include housing navigators, who work with clients to find housing and then continue to support them for a year after they exit from homelessness.
Hope House operates a shelter, transitional housing and an integrated care clinic offering medical and mental health services at 179 Corporate Drive in Bangor.