Campers Along Kenduskeag Stream Must Vacate the Premises Today
The City of Bangor has given members of a homeless encampment along the Kenduskeag Stream until Tuesday night to leave the site.
Tents have been popping up along the Kenduskeag Stream Trail, which has concerned Bangor city officials and police officers. Residents have also been complaining about the trash strewn around the area. Bangor's homeless population has grown, in recent months, as the city has become known as a 'service station,' where food, clothing, and other items and services are easily accessible. Last week, Bangor Police were tasked with clearing out a similar encampment along the waterfront, nearly a month ago.
Police have stated, during past encampment closures, that they are concerned about the welfare of the people who live there. Maine is about to become a very dangerous place for anyone living outside, with winter's frigid temperatures. The notices posted on the Kenduskeag Trail offer suggestions of agencies to contact for information about indoor accommodations, including the Hope House Shelter, the Salvation Army, and the Brick Church/Manna. At the onset of the pandemic, the Ramada Inn on Odlin Road was taken over by the city, and is being used as a homeless shelter, since shelter capacities shrunk with the physical distancing requirements.
One challenge in these situations is that, often, the residents of these communities are not interested in going into shelters. They could be drug users, or people with mental illnesses that prevent them from following the shelter's rules and prefer to be more independent, living outside. In Maine, however, that can be a life-threatening situation during the winter months.
Some residents and agencies are concerned, however, about the idea of clearing out an encampment without making sure every resident has a mutually agreeable solution to their situation. And they're concerned that, as the pandemic wears on, more and more Mainers may find themselves in similar situations.
The City has given residents of the tent city until 5:00 Tuesday evening to vacate the area. Anything they leave behind will be thrown away.