Renderings of Tedford Housing’s proposed new facility in Brunswick. Courtesy of Tedford Housing

Tedford Housing took another step toward its goal of building a new 64-bed emergency shelter in Brunswick last month, when it purchased a 3.1-acre property on Thomas Point Road.

“Tedford has for about a decade realized the need to replace our existing facilities,” said Rota Knott, the nonprofit’s executive director. “They’re just not adequate.”

The $450,000 land deal, largely paid for through a bridge loan from the Brunswick-based Genesis Community Loan Fund, will allow Tedford to finish plans for the building and launch a fundraising campaign, Knott said. The organization hopes to begin construction next spring and complete the estimated $8 million project in 2024.

The new building, which will increase the number of adult shelter beds from 16 to 24 and the number of family units from six to 10, will allow Tedford to expand its offerings after the pandemic limited the organization’s reach, according to Knott.

“We had to reduce our capacity, and we continue to operate reduce capacity because of the impact of Covid-19,” said Knott, who said the organization turned away 404 adults and 24 families through the first three quarters of the current fiscal year. “Now, with the lack of affordable housing, the crunch is even tighter.”

Though Tedford has worked since 2013 to replace its aging facilities, zoning issues slowed the process down and limited options for a new building.


“We were essentially zoned out of downtown, which is where our existing facilities are,” Knott said. “Everyone supports a shelter until it’s in their backyard.”

Tedford proposed a new shelter about four years ago but had to wait until Brunswick drafted zoning ordinances for homeless shelters, according to Matt Panfil, the town’s director of planning and development.

The Cook’s Corner shelter plans, which Brunswick’s Planning Board unanimously approved in January, have some drawbacks, including a lack of sidewalks, Panfil said. Yet he said other traits make the location “promising.”

Knott cited the new shelter’s proximity to community health provider Sweetser and to Walmart, where residents will be able to easily find groceries and employment. She added that Tedford hopes to buy a van to help residents with transportation.

Town Council member Dan Ankeles said supporting the shelter was a key step in the town’s efforts to improve housing access for people of all ages and incomes.

“It’s really important that we’re able to make sure that we’re doing something to help people experiencing homelessness,” he said. “I think that Brunswick has had a lot of missed opportunities in the past. This is the right time and the right place.”

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