Bangor City Council has new plan to address homeless encampments this summer
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - As the weather gets warmer, homeless encampments are popping up again around Bangor.
Going into our second pandemic summer, the city is trying to take proactive steps this year to disband these encampments while taking care of the growing number of homeless.
“The Council did agree on Monday night that if someone refuses to move they can issue a criminal trespass order,” said Rindy Fogler, the Assistant Director for the Bangor Public Health Department.
Last summer city officials say there were upwards of 130 homeless people camping around Bangor.
Bangor Police say larger campsites have led to acts of violence and increased police involvement.
“There are some folks outside who are choosing to be outside because the weather is warm and it’s nice to be outside. But we really would encourage them to get into the shelters so that they can get the services and the help they need to get into housing,” said Fogler.
A new encampment has popped up behind the Hope House, and this is not for a lack of no where else to go.
Between the Hope House and the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, there are about 30 available beds right now.
“We’ve got to fill these beds. These shelters are the best equipped to get people into housing. I see it every week,” said Ann Sweeney, Founder of Hope for Homeless.
The city is also trying to bring basic services to specific parts of Bangor to lessen the spread of these campsites.
“To create what we call service sites. Where we will try to congregate and co-locate services. You know portable restrooms, and food, in some cases the ability to shower,” said Fogler.
All of these are short term solutions.
The real long term answer to ending homelessness in Bangor is more affordable housing.
While meeting with a group of property owners in Bangor, city officials say the problem of available housing is getting worse.
“They all agree the vacancy rate in Bangor is less than 1% and it’s just incredibly difficult for anyone to find housing,” said Fogler.
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