Bangor Bans Valley Avenue Encampments, Works to Help the Unhoused
The City of Bangor is banning encampments on Valley Avenue after April 11, as they work to find homes for the unhoused.
Encampments Have Been Cleaned Out Before ... Why Is This Time Different?
Officials announced on Tuesday that encampments along Valley Avenue in Bangor will no longer be allowed, effective April 11, 2023. While it's not unusual for these encampments to be cleaned out, this time it's different. The occupants are not simply being told to 'move along' or find a shelter. Instead, city and federal agencies are working together to arrange housing, so the occupants can get out of the camps and have a roof over their heads.
Where Will the Valley Ave Campers Go?
It started in September, when officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, sent a Technical Assistance Team to Bangor. They shared some best practices and strategies to help city officials get a handle on the situation and find viable solutions. City Manager Debbie Laurie said in a media release that it's been a productive process.
For the last three months, 40+ individuals from more than 10 state and local agencies have worked diligently to align approaches and resources to be positioned to carry out the work. We are now poised to put what we learned into action.
Those actions include compiling a list of the encampment's occupants, building relationships with those people, and making sure they have the necessary documentation in place to move into housing.
In addition, the team has been working to find the necessary housing units, as well as the items each person will need to set up housekeeping. At this time, Laurie says, there will be housing available for all who want to take advantage of it. Most will be permanent locations, but there will be some temporary options available, as well.
Is There Anything We Can Do To Help?
Concerned citizens who wish to help make this effort a success can do so in a couple of different ways. The City is accepting donations of gently used furnishings (excluding beds) and is interested in learning about any available apartments in the area. In addition, folks can make financial donations to support the effort. Contact the City Manager's Office for more information.