A man surveys Portland Harbor and the 2,038-passenger ship Summit from South Portland in this BDN file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — A group is looking into the possibility of housing homeless people off of Maine’s coast.

Memory Works, a non-profit organization, is applying for a $250,000 grant to activate a study on re-purposing cruise ships for the use of housing needs.

Alongside people experiencing homelessness, Memory Works is looking at immigrant and low-income housing needs as well.

The organization said used cruise ships can cost as low as $5 million and can hold about 800 passengers in nearly 400 cabins.

If properly maintained, the director believes the ships can have a life-span up to 100 years.

“A cruise ship is about 500 feet long, about 90 feet wide. That’s about an acre per deck,” Ken Capron with Memory Works said. “In essence this would give more capacity and more services than they would the existing plan.”

Memory Works is offering a presentation for anyone interested in learning more at Portland City Hall on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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