Craig Phillips, Tedford Housing’s executive director. (Times Record file photo)

BRUNSWICK — Tedford Housing Executive Director Craig Phillips will retire at the end of the year, the organization announced Thursday.

Phillips has lead the organization, which provides shelter and services to homeless individuals in the Midcoast, since 2011.

While “we didn’t end homelessness in eight years,” Phillips said in an interview that he is proud of what the organization has accomplished in his time as director, especially the expansion of case management and reach. Tedford is in a healthy position and is on stable grounds with good staff, he said.

Now that a contentious year-long zoning process for homeless shelters has wrapped up, Phillips said he and the board will resume its search for a space for a new homeless shelter and resource center, but that it’s time for a new leader with “new perspective, new ideas and new energy.”

“It’s time to step back,” he said.

Tedford approached the city in early 2018 with plans to build a 70-bed shelter and resource center in town, but the council stalled the talks after it realized Brunswick didn’t have ordinances regulating homeless shelters, despite the fact that Tedford had been operating in town for decades. This move sparked a year’s worth of meetings and hearings that ended in April when the council approved a new zoning ordinance, allowing Tedford to move forward with its plans.

Under the new rules, Tedford officials have said they aren’t sure where the new shelter could be located. The new zoning rules prohibited new shelters from all of Brunswick’s residential areas and added a requirement for a 1,000-foot buffer between any two shelters not on the same parcel of land. Potential sites that might meet that new criteria are “few and far between” in Brunswick, Phillips has said.

In 2018, Tedford had to turn away 354 individuals and 228 families because they did not have enough beds.

Joyce McPhetres, President of the Tedford Housing Board of Directors said the announcement came with a “mix of sadness and appreciation.”

“During Craig’s tenure, Tedford Housing has expanded its case management services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and strengthened its relationships within the community while growing the overall health of the organization,” she said.

She said a transition committee will start searching for the next executive director and that a  formal job description and posting will come out by mid-summer.

Throughout all of this transition, Tedford Housing will continue its mission of creating pathways from homelessness to home by partnering with people and their communities in Midcoast Maine,” Phillips said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed and have been honored to hold this position, working with the entire community to advance the mission of Tedford Housing.”

He plans to stay in his role until they find a new director, “and whenever that person is in place, I will turn in my key and take out the trash for the last time.”

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