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Costs for new homeless shelter double 2017 estimates

May 4, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Proposals to build and lease a new homeless shelter in Portland, Maine, would cost double what was projected in 2017 in part because of new specifications that would allow social distancing at the proposed shelter.

The city received proposals last week to build a 200-bed shelter at a site on Riverside Street in a 50,000-square-foot facility, the Portland Press Herald reported.

In 2017, the city estimated the cost of building the shelter would be $8 million with a $400,000 annual lease for a 25,660-square-foot facility, the newspaper reported.

Two proposals to build the shelter came in at $19.23 million and $18.69 million. That is in addition to annual lease costs to the city of more than $1 million annually, which could increase over time with certain restrictions.

The proposals include a cafeteria, space for medical clinics and locker rooms in addition to the 200 total beds for men and women.

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A third proposal does not specifically include plans for a shelter because the developer says the city should focus on building housing rather than shelter beds, the newspaper reported.

“It is too soon to react to the details provided within the proposals,” Jessica Grondin, a spokesperson for City Hall told the newspaper, saying staff would review them and provide recommendations.

City councilors on the Housing and Economic Development Committee will review the proposals on May 18.