The former Sun Journal office building at 104 Park St. in Lewiston, seen in July 2022, is slated to become a 25-bed shelter. The property is owned by the Lewiston Housing Authority. The shelter will be the first of its kind in the city and meet the city’s immediate need for temporary emergency housing, Lewiston House Authority Executive Director Chris Kilmurry said. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — MaineHousing will release $3.7 million for a new 25-bed shelter for Lewiston, the second-largest grant awarded to communities across the state Thursday.

The Lewiston Housing Authority submitted an application for funding and said the Lewiston Unhoused Response Center will be on Lewiston Housing property at 104 Park St., within the city’s approved Homeless Shelter Overlay District. The building is the former location of the Lewiston Sun Journal.

In a written statement, Executive Director Chris Kilmurry said that initially, the new facility will offer 25 emergency shelter beds and associated services, with the ultimate objective of connecting individuals to permanent housing solutions.

Kilmurry said the Unhoused Response Center proposal was developed by a coalition of providers, including Community Concepts, the Immigrant Resource Center, New Beginnings, Safe Voices and Community Clinical Services. Kilmurry added that it will be the first of its kind in the city and will meet the city’s immediate need for temporary emergency housing, while a long-term solution for a permanent shelter location can be developed and implemented.

There are five shelters in the city, which have a combined 83 beds. One is dedicated to survivors of human sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, another serves only youth ages 12 to 19. The other three are faith-based organizations with one strictly for men.

“I am pleased that Lewiston Housing’s proposal was among those funded,” Mayor Carl Sheline said when contacted by the Sun Journal for comment. “My sincere thanks to Gov. (Janet) Mills and the Legislature for making these funds available and MaineHousing for working quickly through the approval process. Our city needs pragmatic solutions for our unhoused community and I am looking forward to this shelter becoming operational as quickly as possible.”


Lewiston Housing did not offer a timeline for completion of the new emergency shelter.

A report to the City Council last year by the Mayoral Ad Hoc Committee on homeless shelters recommended a range of 51 to 119 additional shelter beds to meet the needs of the city’s homeless population, put at over 1,000 in 2022.

The funding is part of $21 million made available through the $473 million emergency energy relief bill passed by the Legislature in January to address the homelessness crisis.

MaineHousing received applications from more than 35 organizations for this funding, leading to the 17 awards announced across the state Thursday.

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