Portland’s plan for a temporary emergency shelter for the unhoused and asylum seekers has run afoul of the city’s “Green New Deal” ordinance.
That comes as Portland grapples with a surging homeless population and an influx of asylum seekers in the city.
City spokesperson Jessica Grondin told the Portland Press Herald that the ordinance’s requirements would have prevented Portland from using an undisclosed location as temporary housing.
READ MORE UNHOUSED COVERAGE
Portland is currently housing about 1,700 people, of whom 500 are homeless and the rest asylum seekers, according to the Press Herald.
The city is continuing to look for a new alternative.
The “Green New Deal” ordinance requires new or substantially altered buildings with 10 or more units to make 25 percent of them affordable and adhere to stronger green building codes to combat climate change. Some have said the ordinance, which passed in November 2020, caused an 82 percent decline in housing units proposed to the city in its first year.
Faced with a growing demand for temporary housing, the city said last month that it cannot guarantee housing for asylum seekers. A growing chorus has called on the state government to coordinate services for asylum seekers, which Gov. Janet Mills suggested earlier this month her administration would do.
It’s not just Portland grappling with rising homelessness and an influx of asylum seekers. South Portland said late last month that it cannot guarantee housing for asylum seekers, as well, and the city has renewed licenses for a number of hotels that have provided temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness. Bangor also has struggled to provide housing and other services to a growing homeless population.