Two South Portland hotels whose owner had planned to stop housing homeless people at the end of May will allow them to stay through the end of June, officials said Tuesday.

MaineHousing, which has been contracting with the Days Inn and Comfort Inn since the start of the pandemic to use the two hotels for emergency housing, has extended a contract with the owner, New Gen Hospitality Management, MaineHousing spokesperson Scott Thistle said.

City officials are addressing the issue of increased crime in temporary housing as they continue to receive complaints from the community.  Brianna Soukup/Staff file photo

“That contract has been extended until those folks that are using those two hotels … are able to move into the new congregate shelter or until the end of the month, whichever comes first,” Thistle said, referring to plans by the state and the city of Portland to open a temporary emergency shelter using money from the state’s supplemental budget.

Portland is currently providing shelter to more than 1,700 people on a nightly basis, including about 280 homeless individuals staying at the two hotels, which are being used to accommodate overflow from the city’s Oxford Street Shelter.

Officials have not yet said where the temporary shelter will be. Both Thistle and Jessica Grondin, spokesperson for the city of Portland, said Tuesday that details are still being finalized.

In the interim, Thistle said, those staying in the two hotels should continue working with the city and social service agencies to determine whether they will relocate to the emergency shelter, try to get into another shelter or try to find long-term housing.

The Opportunity Alliance, a Cumberland County community action agency, also has been working with those staying at the hotels.

“The city is doing a lot,” Thistle said. “The Opportunity Alliance is doing an enormous amount of work. Everyone is (working hard) because no one wants to see anyone out on the street.”

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