The State of Maine: Response to Homelessness during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brief

The State of Maine: Response to Homelessness during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of housing and homelessness services as public health infrastructure. To understand how different communities across the United States adapted their homelessness responses during the pandemic to keep people safe and housed, we explored the steps taken in six places. This case study summarizes the response in Maine, which focused on creating safety in congregate shelters by retrofitting existing spaces and opening “wellness centers.” These new facilities were open 24/7, contained private bed spaces, and offered on-site supports. Stakeholders observed the positive impact that the wellness center model had on guests and are committed to transforming their approach to emergency shelter beyond the pandemic. The state is also moving toward a regional service hub model to better serve people where they are located.

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