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Maine City Overwhelmed by Migrants Wants To Convert Private Homes, Churches to Homeless Shelters

Critics fear it will increase the burden on taxpayers by bloating the city’s welfare program.


A city in Maine is eyeing a new ordinance that would turn private homes, churches, and community centers into public shelters to accommodate migrants arriving from America’s border states, whom the city describe as “new Mainers.”

The ordinance introduced at Westbrook would not force homeowners or churches to house homeless people, but would instead give them the option to become official homeless shelters. Proponents say it would help the city cope with soaring rates of homelessness in its Cumberland County. Critics, however, fear it will increase the burden on taxpayers by bloating the size of the city’s welfare program.

At a meeting of Westbrook’s planning board on May 7, one resident, Martin Malia, expressed concern that the new ordinance would attract more homeless immigrants to the city. California has thrown more funds at the homelessness crisis, he said, and the homeless population in the state has ballooned.

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