The Braunschweig planning committee unanimously approved the final plans for a new emergency shelter for the homeless with 64 beds near Cook’s Corner on Tuesday.
The 17,568 square meter facility will allow Tedford Housing to consolidate its two existing Brunswick accommodations, increase the adult emergency accommodation from 16 to 24 beds and accommodate up to 10 families. Two vacant lots are planned on Thomas Point Road.
Tedford Housing was founded in 1987 and is a non-profit organization based in Braunschweig that helps homeless people in the Midcoast. The organization has been trying to build new shelter since 2013, spearheading aging facilities, although until recently zoning issues stood in the way.
“The community has shown that they really understand the importance of having this resource in Braunschweig to help the homeless,” said Rota Knott, Executive Director of Tedford Housing. “When it’s minus 15 degrees outside, people need a place to be, and there’s really no excuse that we don’t have a resource, a place that can help people who need shelter.”
Board approval is tied to six conditions that affect potential walkways, sewer and water systems, and other planning-related details.
Knott estimates the facility will cost about $ 8 million. It is funded through grants, donations, and other fundraising. Knott said the organization hopes to lay the foundation this summer to be drafted by 2023.
During the public opinion opportunities, 14 people commented on the proposal, 11 of whom were in favor and three raised concerns. About 39 people submitted written comments, according to Brunswick Director of Planning & Development Matt Panfil.
“How can we continue to keep an eye on the suffering of our fellow human beings with a clear conscience?” Said the Brunswick citizen Jean Konzal, who spoke out in favor of the proposal. “Everyone deserves a place to live, a place to call home. No matter what the circumstances led some to lose their home, they deserve a chance to reclaim their lives. “
Councilors Dan Ankeles and Kathy Wilson, and MP Poppy Arford, also supported the proposal.
“The new shelter on Thomas Point Road will provide modern, clean, safe and efficient accommodation for our fellow citizens affected by homelessness,” said Gifford Jamison, program director at Tedford Housing. “Especially on nights like today, when wind chills drop to minus degrees, safe accommodation is an important part of the safety network, which is of crucial importance for flourishing communities like Braunschweig.
Those who opposed it generally raised concerns about the location.
“Where are the pedestrians going?” said Fran Fontanez, who lives in Braunschweig, who raised safety concerns about the location.
There are currently no sidewalks on Thomas Point Road and although the city will attempt to add them in the future, a timetable for that is uncertain.
Cook’s Corner is a predominantly commercial area populated by shopping malls and chain stores. The area Tedford plans to build is about a quarter of a mile along Thomas Point Road, across from Cook’s Corner Walmart. The road leads to other residential streets as well as to Thomas Point Beach and Campground.
Tedford plans to offer van transportation, as well as taxi and bus fares. Braunschweig’s public transport also stops at Walmart.
This story will be updated.
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