BETHEL — During the international pandemic, 10 % of Americans lost their jobs. Because of this, in September 2020, the Center for Disease Control put a halt to evicting tenants who couldn’t pay rent. It ensured that all Americans paying rent would have a deferral on their rent. This deferral meant if their income was affected by the pandemic because of loss of a job or any other emergency problem, they would be able to pay their rent at a later time. They had to fill out a CDC Eviction Declaration Form. This deferral ended on August 26, 2021.

However, a study in December found that, “Maine renters are at the lowest risk in the nation to be evicted, largely because of state programs administered with CARES Act funding and through MaineHousing.”

In March 2021, 20,000 to 40,000 Maine households were behind on their rent and at risk of eviction.

“In Waterville, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter Executive Director Katie Spencer White said the Colby Street shelter is serving about one-third more people than it did before the pandemic,” according to

“There has been no pandemic spike in evictions, and eviction rates are actually lower than before the pandemic,” said Greg Payne, director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. “Maine court data indicates there were 28% fewer eviction filings in the 2020 fiscal year compared to the previous year.”

Dave Bean, director of the Bethel Food Pantry in Bethel, says they have the ability to serve 120 families every two weeks. Recipients do, however, have to drive-up to get the food. Bean says if they do not have a car, they can call him and request him to bring them their food. However, this doesn’t happen too often. There aren’t as many homeless people as there aren’t many places to stay. There is Community Concepts, a nonprofit in Paris, which houses the homeless. However, that is the closest place nearby, and 30 minutes away.

Pastor Kevin of Bethel Alliance Church says if a homeless person needs help, he first talks with them on the phone, then talks with them in person, hears their story, what they need (i.e. food, heating, or rent), and he will go back to the Church Elders and they will make a decision together to help. They do not give out cash. They will give out gift cards or pay rent directly to the landlord.

[The] love of Christ [is] in all of this,” says Pastor Kevin.

So what to do if evicted? Either call the Food Pantry at: 207-824-4090, or stop at a nearby church, or get in contact with Community Concepts..

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