Portland has nowhere for the nearly 200 people living in the homeless encampment to go.
Portland officials are preparing to remove a homeless encampment off Bayside Trail, pictured here on April 14, 2023. Credit: Carol Bousquet / Maine Public

The city of Portland said it must remove a homeless encampment of about 200 people and clean up the site, but it has nowhere for the campers to go.

On Tuesday, the city will host an emergency meeting and ask for help, as Portland’s 654 shelter beds are full. The encampment is located on a public trail off Marginal Way.

“It’s not lost on us that many of the folks that would benefit from the Homeless Services Center are unable to get a bed there,” Mayor Kate Snyder said.

Snyder said asylum seekers make up 75 percent of the Homeless Services Center population. She’s hopeful community advocacy groups that have been supporting the campers on site will offer a solution.

“What we really need right now are additional shelter beds. We need services that go beyond meeting people where they are; we need locations where community groups can focus their resources on getting people out of tents and into safer places,” Snyder said.

Snyder has received emails from the public, with about half supporting the campers and the other half saying the encampment is unsafe and hurting businesses along Marginal Way.

The emergency meeting Tuesday will be on Zoom and the public is invited to participate.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.