Lawmakers provide emergency funding for Maine homeless shelters

Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 5:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Some relief is coming to Maine’s homeless shelters.

Early Wednesday morning, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted unanimously to provide $5 million in emergency funding to support homeless shelters.

This comes after members of Maine’s Coalition of Shelters came together last week urging lawmakers to help more than 20 shelters around the state.

They say shelters have been underfunded for years and feared many would have to close if they did not get adequate funding.

Payroll costs alone for many shelters have risen to 60% of the budget and many say they need more staffing to serve the population coming into their shelters.

”It’ll keep the lights on. It’ll keep the bills paid. It’ll make sure we’ve got housing navigators who can do their work, peer support specialists, who help us link them to services that moves them more quickly through the system onto long term, permanent housing,” said Lori Dwyer, Penobscot Community Health Care president and CEO.

The $5 million will come from the General Fund to the Maine State Housing Authority.

It’s unclear when the full Legislature will take up the spending proposal, a follow-up to a budget plan approved in March.