Lewiston weighing options on help for homeless

It’s a solution that could be a win-win in Lewiston: housing for the city’s homeless and business for the struggling lodging industry.The idea to use vacant hotel and motel rooms for people who need shelter is just one of the proposals the Lewiston Housing Committee presented to city council this week.“It can be an opportunity to use existing infrastructure that’s empty and not collecting revenue for those businesses. We can contract with them, they can get some income, and we can get some immediate shelter that’s comfortable and private for people who need it,” said Craig Saddlemire, the committee’s chair.The pandemic has made tackling homelessness an even bigger priority for the city, with many out of work or down income. This past summer, those who needed somewhere to sleep could go to the Lewiston Armory where a temporary, emergency shelter was set up.Despite the armory’s success, it’s since closed, leaving a gap in the community.“We are seeing more and more individuals who don’t have a shelter who don’t have a home to go to at night and it’s heartbreaking,” said Safiya Khalid, city councilor for ward one.The committee’s presentation included other recommendations, like creating a mobile shower and bathroom facility and helping those facing eviction.Saddlemire said city council responded positively to the recommendations his committee brought forward and he is hopeful they’ll move forward on some of them soon.

It’s a solution that could be a win-win in Lewiston: housing for the city’s homeless and business for the struggling lodging industry.

The idea to use vacant hotel and motel rooms for people who need shelter is just one of the proposals the Lewiston Housing Committee presented to city council this week.

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“It can be an opportunity to use existing infrastructure that’s empty and not collecting revenue for those businesses. We can contract with them, they can get some income, and we can get some immediate shelter that’s comfortable and private for people who need it,” said Craig Saddlemire, the committee’s chair.

The pandemic has made tackling homelessness an even bigger priority for the city, with many out of work or down income.

This past summer, those who needed somewhere to sleep could go to the Lewiston Armory where a temporary, emergency shelter was set up.

Despite the armory’s success, it’s since closed, leaving a gap in the community.

“We are seeing more and more individuals who don’t have a shelter who don’t have a home to go to at night and it’s heartbreaking,” said Safiya Khalid, city councilor for ward one.

The committee’s presentation included other recommendations, like creating a mobile shower and bathroom facility and helping those facing eviction.

Saddlemire said city council responded positively to the recommendations his committee brought forward and he is hopeful they’ll move forward on some of them soon.