Brunswick officials are hoping the town’s donation to a new emergency shelter will inspire other communities to do the same.

The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved contributing $200,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds toward Tedford Housing’s new facility on Thomas Point Road that will increase the shelter’s capacity 60%.

A rendering of Tedford Housing’s new shelter planned for Thomas Point Road in Brunswick. Courtesy of Tedford Housing

Tedford Executive Director Andrew Lardie requested the donation and said it would set an important example for other communities that the organization will approach. Councilor Abby King proposed the council grant the donation.

“We’ve heard time and time again that some of our most vulnerable citizens are in need right now,” King said. “This is not the answer to our homeless problem, but it’s a big piece and it sends a message about Brunswick’s commitment to our vulnerable citizens and social services.”

Tedford operates the Midcoast’s only emergency shelter. Its new, 17,568-square-foot facility will have 24 adult beds and four-bedroom units for 10 families. The organization has raised $5.3 million so far for the $8.3 million project; construction is slated to begin in the spring.

King said the school department has reported a rise in unhoused students, while the town has seen a rise in evictions and people seeking general assistance.


“I would like to reiterate how critical I think this funding is both for taking care of the people that need it most in our community and for helping Tedford to raise more funds from municipalities near us,” she said.

Councilor Dan Ankeles called on other communities to contribute.

“We all need to get this over the finish line because the sooner we do that the sooner it can go right into prevention efforts … (and) the sooner they can get people from out of the cold,” he said. “I hope other communities are watching what we’re doing. I hope they read about it and I hope they vote accordingly.”

Lardie said Harpswell, Woolwich, Phippsburg and Arrowsic have appropriated funds for Tedford in their budgets. Tedford plans to approach other communities like Bath, Topsham and Freeport for donations.

Lardie said this year, the shelter accommodated 13% of housing requests, turning away 463 adults and 139 families due to a lack of space.

“Brunswick’s gift would establish an invaluable precedent as we make similar appeals to nearby larger towns … for contributions in proportion to our level of service in each,” he wrote in his funding request.

Lardie said Brunswick households account for a greater share of clients than any other community, representing 30% of those in its shelter, 35% of case management and homeless prevention and 50% of households receiving heating assistance.

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