City of Bangor provides update on efforts to help homeless individuals

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - An update on the City of Bangor's homeless shelters shows one is at max capacity right now with no room for social distancing.

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The Hope House is providing shelter to more than 65 people.

We learned this information at the City's Government Operations meeting.

Officials with Hope House and PCHC, which manages the shelter, have asked about opening up another place at the University of Maine at Augusta Bangor campus.

Fogler had said that the shelter is not allowing new guests. The shelter's director, Boyd Kronholm says that contrary to Fogler's statement, the facility is accepting new guests, with 7 beds available as of Tuesday morning.

Kronholm says there are currently 17 residents and the facility has the ability to house 24 or 25 overnight guests with shelter in place policies.
"We are taking new people. When they come in, there's a process that they come in through, we have masks. They have a room to themselves for the first 6-8 days to see if there's any symptoms."

Shaw House has about 15 guests -give or take and that includes room for social distancing and isolation.

Some of Bangor's homeless shelters have been working to provide those in need with meals throughout the day.

The city's Community Services Manager says if someone tests positive for coronavirus they could isolate at Columbia Street Baptist Church.

Rindy Fogler, Community Services Manager, Bangor Public Health & Community Services, said, "That will be operated by PCHC and Hope House. We will have room for 30 people. There are no plans to confine people to that shelter even though they're positive they will be free to come and go at will. They have not opened number one because we have not yet had a positive and number as of Friday they had yet to find a cleaner who was willing to go in and clean."

Bangor City Councilor, Laura Supica added, "It's not easy to shelter in place or to stay home and healthy when you don't have a shelter or a home. There's a lot of people who are more at risk who are already in at-risk situations and we see that need in more so. It's become even more apparent."

Rindi Folger says they believe about 20 to 30 people right now are unsheltered.

The city says they will continue efforts to find homeless individuals a safe place to stay.

However, we're told a large number of people have denied help.

Since fall, the city of Bangor has found 45 individuals permanent housing and in the last 30 days, 15 people have been housed.