Temporary shelter for asylum seekers closes in Maine’s largest city

Aug 16, 2023, 9:51 AM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Nearly 200 asylum seekers from African countries have traded one temporary home in Maine’s largest city for another Wednesday after a basketball arena that served as a shelter closed.

About 10 buses and vans lined up outside the Portland Expo to take 191 occupants and their belongings to motels in Lewiston and Freeport. Both cities are north of Portland.

One of the newcomers blew kisses to onlookers in a show of appreciation for the city, which set up the emergency shelter in April after a flood of people arrived — more than 1,600, mostly from Angola and Congo, since the start of the year.

Communities around the country have been dealing with growing numbers of asylum seekers, and have braced for more as the Biden administration sought to put in place new restrictions after the lifting of pandemic restrictions on asylum.

In Portland, the arrival of newcomers strained city services and coincided with the end of pandemic funding in May, which had allowed many unhoused people to stay in motels. Since then, homeless tent cities have begun growing around the city.

“Our staff have been completely at capacity in terms of who they’re able to shelter and assist,” city spokesperson Jessica Grondin said.

Grondin said she hopes asylum seekers won’t have to be housed in motels for too long as slots open up in the city’s family shelter. The motel costs are expected to be about $500,000, on top of about $540,000 spent for temporary housing at the arena. But the city won’t have to pick up the entire tab for those costs since the state will contribute, she said.

Asylum seekers first began arriving in large numbers in 2019, many arriving with harrowing tales of their escape from violence and poverty in their homelands.

United States News

Associated Press

Father of Palestinian American boy slain outside Chicago files wrongful death lawsuit

CHICAGO (AP) — The father of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy fatally stabbed in what authorities allege was a hate crime has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Oday Al-Fayoume filed the lawsuit last month against the suburban Chicago landlord charged in the attack that left his child dead and the boy’s mother seriously wounded. The […]

24 minutes ago

Two women hug as Muslim and Jewish women gather at an interfaith workshop on the Israeli-Palestinia...

Associated Press

In US, some Muslim-Jewish interfaith initiatives are strained by Israel-Hamas war

Shireen Quaizar was wracked with doubt. For years, the school psychologist has been active in Muslim-Jewish interfaith dialogue, but the Israel-Hamas war left her reeling. “What are we doing with talking to each other?” she recalled thinking, frustrated by a conversation about the exact number of Palestinians killed in an Israeli airstrike. “This doesn’t work.” […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the Capitol after being expelled from the House of Repres...

Associated Press

Republicans had New Yorkers lead the way in expelling Santos. Will it help them keep the majority?

WASHINGTON (AP) — George Santos is gone from the House, but his name is certain to pop up in key congressional races across New York next year. Democrats are targeting five seats held by first-term Republicans and looking to associate them with their former colleague in the state’s congressional delegation as often as they can. […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Israel orders more people in crowded southern Gaza to evacuate as heavy bombardment shifts there

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel on Sunday ordered more evacuations in and around Gaza’s second-largest city of Khan Younis, followed by heavy bombardment, as the military’s offensive shifted to the southern half of the territory where Israeli officials assert that leaders of the Hamas militant group are hiding. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip […]

9 hours ago

This photo provided by Mattel shows a Barbie doll of Wilma Mankiller. Toy maker Mattel is honoring ...

Associated Press

Barbie doll honoring Cherokee Nation leader is met with mixed emotions

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An iconic chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller, inspired countless Native American children as a powerful but humble leader who expanded early education and rural healthcare. Her reach is now broadening with a quintessential American honor: a Barbie doll in the late Mankiller’s likeness as part of toymaker Mattel’s “Inspiring […]

12 hours ago

Notes from students expressing support and sharing coping strategies paper a wall, as members of th...

Associated Press

Lacking counselors, US schools turn to the booming business of online therapy

Trouble with playground bullies started for Maria Ishoo’s daughter in elementary school. Girls ganged up, calling her “fat” and “ugly.” Boys tripped and pushed her. The California mother watched her typically bubbly second-grader retreat into her bedroom and spend afternoons curled up in bed. For Valerie Aguirre’s daughter in Hawaii, a spate of middle school […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Temporary shelter for asylum seekers closes in Maine’s largest city