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New Initiatives Will Assist City’s Unhoused 

By Zendelle Bouchard 

At the City Council meeting on September 5, 2023, City Manager Steve Buck gave an update on the recent meeting of the Homeless Task Force. Highlights included: 

  • The Sanford Police Department’s Mental Health Unit (MHU) is currently tracking 106 known unhoused individuals in our community. 30 of them have a high probability of obtaining housing, and are being assisted in that, while the other 76 have “very uncertain pathways” to housing, Buck said.  
  • MaineHealth has donated ten syringe disposal boxes to the City, and the MHU is identifying strategic locations for them to be installed. One location will be outside the Police Station, where two portable toilets will also soon be located. 
  • Lafayette School is still on track to be opened by October 15, with a warming center on the first floor to shelter people during cold weather, and a resource center for the unhoused on the second floor. York County Shelter Programs is leasing the space from the Sanford School Department. 
  • The City has applied for a grant to fund four Americorps housing navigators. If the grant is awarded, the navigators will be split among the agencies that partner with the City on homelessness issues. 
  • Sanford Housing Authority is engaged in a feasibility study to purchase land for up to 40 units of transitional housing under the Housing First model. This would also include 24/7 case management for those needing assistance to transition to permanent housing and work. A grant from Maine State Housing would fund the project. 

See this week’s City Council meeting summary for information on the Layman’s Way expansion and the City’s new Community Paramedicine Program. 

The Homeless Task Force includes City and School Department officials and staff, first responders and partner agencies including York County Community Action, York County Shelter Programs, Caring Unlimited and the Sanford Housing Authority, as well as a representative of Senator Susan Collins’ office. The Task Force meets biweekly. 

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