Westbrook City Councilor Jennifer Munro leads a discussion Tuesday at a meeting of the Westbrook Community Housing Coalition. Robert Lowell / American Journal

More affordable housing is on the horizon in Westbrook but short-term solutions to the homeless crisis facing the city remain hard to come by.

Mayor Michael Foley on Tuesday told the Westbrook Community Housing Coalition that several affordable housing projects totaling 1,600 units are “in the pipeline.”

City Councilor Jennifer Monro, co-chairperson of the coalition, said one of those projects would bring 100 affordable housing units to the intersection of Westbrook Arterial and Larrabee Road, across from Rock Row. The project is currently in the environmental review stage.

The Legislature passed a bill this month to provide funding so that dozens of asylum seekers could remain sheltered at hotels in the region. That funding, however, would end in April. Many of the asylum seekers attend churches in Westbrook and the coalition expects them to seek help in the city. Coupled with domestic homelessness locally, the coalition has estimated that Westbrook could be faced with hundreds of people with no place to go and very little means in the near future.

Meanwhile, the coalition of residents, elected officials, clergy and social service agency representatives continues to grapple with how to shelter the unhoused.


Westbrook Mayor Michael Foley, left, and City Council Vice Chairperson David Morse attend the coalition meeting Tuesday. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The city has no vacant spaces that could support an overnight shelter, Foley said.

“We looked at warehouses,” he said, and also checked into space at the Dana Mill but found it is mostly occupied.

Munro said trained shelter staffing is also an issue.

Local churches have stepped up to address homelessness.

Denise Quint of Gorham, representing Prides Corner Congregational Church in Westbrook, said her church is working with Family Promise, a Portland agency that assists homeless families.

“We are looking to figure out how to help with homelessness,” Quint said.


First Baptist Church in Westbrook is willing to host a day warming shelter, but there is little interest among those it would be intended for, according to the Rev. Scott Linscott.

People now living on the streets are hesitant to to make use of a day shelter, he said.

“We wish they would use it but they are afraid to leave their (outdoor) spots and property because of theft,” Linscott said previously. “If the situation changes, we’re open to revisiting the idea.”

Lucas Schrage of Project Home, an agency that works with landlords to provide housing for the unhoused, is working on a plan to help some people, but that plan has not been finalized. Schrage, a Westbrook resident, will meet with the Rev. Leslie Foley of Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church and other church officials on March 5.

The mayor said Westbrook and Freeport schools are joining forces for a program to focus on the plight of homeless students and are seeking a grant to fund a position to lead the effort.

The Westbrook Community Housing Coalition meets every two weeks. The next meeting is at 1 p.m. Feb. 7 at First Baptist Church, 733 Main St.

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