Should Vacant Augusta K-Mart Be Used To House Homeless
Housing for Augusta and Waterville homeless people and familes have been an ever increasing issue for City officials, organizations that service homelessness, and for the homeless themself.
With winter here and arrangements with hotels sets to expire at the end of Janurary, many are struggling with what to do to address this ever increasing issue.
According to a report by centralmaine.com, the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville is doing all they can to partner with an un-named hotel in Augusta to make more space available. However nothing has been solidified at this point.
Advocates that work with the homeless are hoping to have a multi-agency partnership to find longer term solution for the affordable housing crisis that is gripping much of the State of Maine currently.
An outline was provided to Augusta city councilors to offer a potential solution that could help provide short-term housing for those suffering homelessness.
There use to be more vacant hotels that were willing to work with FEMA funds when lodging was experiencing losses due to travel restrictions from Covid-19 however, since those restrictions have been lifted and travel has been robust, many of these hotels are booked with tourist and are less likely to want to extend contracts to house homeless individuals.
One homeless woman addressed the Augusta City Council and suggested the City use its power to force vacant building owners to requisition buildings to provide space, like the currently vacant K-Mart building in Augusta. She said people could use such spaces to sleep overnight out of the cold even if it was just sleeping on the floor on a mat.
Augusta Mayor Rollins indicated they will take the information under advisement. However, it's still unclear what if any solutions may come forward in short order.
Here is a YouTube video of the space that use to be K-Mart in Augusta.