If you're seeking the public's approval, you don't want to be on Portland's City Council subcommittee in charge of finding where to build a new homeless shelter.

The panel has narrowed down their long list of potential sites to three prime locations, each of which is already receiving harsh criticism by residents. The size of the 150-person shelter is also a point of contention, being called too large by some and too small by others, according to the Press Herald. The committee is welcoming the community to weigh in on the pros and cons of each location at a public hearing Tuesday, March 26th.

The three locations under consideration are: a parking lot known as Angelo’s Acre near the Casco Bay Bridge on Commercial Street, a piece of land near the Cumberland County Jail in Libbytown, or a parcel of industrial land on Riverside Street.

“We have a really difficult choice to make and public input will be an important part of making that choice,” Committee Chairwoman Belinda Ray said. “We have three viable sites and they all have challenges and benefits. We need to choose one that will be best for the community, the clients and the staff.”

Demand at the current homeless shelter on Oxford Street in Bayside frequently exceeds its 154-adult capacity and requires the city to open up other spaces for overflow. The city officials' new shelter proposal includes amenities lacking at the Bayside shelter, including a soup kitchen, health clinic and meeting space where clients can receive counseling on housing, treatment and other issues, the Press Herald reports.


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