LEWISTON — The city’s ad hoc shelter committee will present a report to the City Council next week as officials look to decide on new regulations before a moratorium on homeless shelters expires in September.

The 46-page report is expected to provide data on the city’s homeless population and shelters, provide a look at what other cities are doing, and incorporate public feedback in a set of recommendations for the council.

The full report will be included in the City Council agenda packet and posted to the city’s website late Friday.

Craig Saddlemire, committee co-chairman, said Thursday that the council told the committee that they wanted to see more information on the issue before they made any decisions, and wanted more tools to regulate shelters properly.

“The committee took those interests very seriously and put a ton of work into producing this 46-page document,” he said.

The report was written entirely by committee members, without a consultant.


Saddlemire, who through Raise-Op Housing Cooperative is developing and advocating for affordable housing in Lewiston, said he’s learned a lot about homelessness. He said while understanding housing can be complicated, the issue of homelessness is “a lot more complex.”

“There’s a lot more nuance to what people need, how they end up homeless, what their circumstances are and how to intervene and help them get out of that,” he said. “By nature, a lot of the data isn’t as available, a lot of homelessness is invisible. That’s why the report is so extensive, because it is a very complicated issue.”

He said the committee learned a lot about what other communities are doing, “both to respond to the need and to implement regulations on shelters.”

The committee held two public “listening sessions” in June to help inform the report, which city officials had hoped to receive before the current moratorium on new shelters expires in late September.

Officials sought a moratorium this spring in response to a proposal for a 24-hour shelter and resource center intended to help transition people out of homelessness.

Much of the focus from councilors has been on the concept of a low-barrier shelter, which is a term used to describe a shelter that has less conditions and is more “universally accessible” to homeless compared to other shelters.


The city’s four shelters, while vital for many people, carry restrictions that can turn people away for reasons such as arriving late, substance use, previous stay bans, lack of identification and religious reasons.

Several councilors said they would like to see some kind of licensing or regulatory requirements in place that are specific to homeless shelters.

Those in favor of pursuing a new, 24-hour shelter and resource center have argued that the city could have worked on new regulations without the need for a moratorium.

Mayor Carl Sheline, who created the ad hoc committee in March after the council signaled its support for a moratorium, said he’s proud of the work the committee has done.

“They are experts on this topic and I really hope that the City Council takes the report recommendations and uses them to guide action and policy going forward,” he said.

During a council workshop in May, Saddlemire and committee Co-chairwoman Amy Smith solicited feedback from the council on what questions and concerns they’d like to see addressed in the report. The council was asked what aspect of the issue concerned them most, and what they were hearing from constituents.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.