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Flanagan Center eyed as nighttime homeless shelter during winter

By Stephen Betts | Aug 05, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Flanagan Community Center in Rockland is being eyed for a nighttime homeless shelter during the winter.

Rockland — A citizen group is asking the city for permission to use the Flanagan Community Center this winter as a nighttime homeless shelter.

Representatives of the Knox County Homeless Coalition, clergy, and concerned residents met Monday evening, Aug. 5, with the Rockland City Council. No decision was made, but City Manager Tom Luttrell said he would meet with representatives of the organization, the Penobscot Bay YMCA, and the city's attorney before presenting a formal proposal to the City Council in September.

The YMCA leases the building from Rockland and provides recreational services there.

The Community Emergency Shelter Committee is proposing a pilot program which would provide a shelter for up to 20 people nightly from December through March.

The Flanagan Center is being considered because it is centrally located and within easy walking distance of social services. The center has showers and bathroom facilities.

Sleeping mats, towels and blankets would be provided. A light breakfast is expected to be served before guests leave for the day in the morning.

Unaccompanied minors would not be allowed to stay at the shelter, but would be referred to the Landing Place in Rockland, also operated by the homeless coalition.

The shelter would open at 8:30 p.m. The YMCA operation generally ends at 8 p.m.

The committee is raising money for the pilot project and, if the goal of $92,000 is raised, the shelter would open in December, if the city approves the agreement.

There would be a paid staff member at the center and volunteers would also offer services.

Coalition Chief Operating Officer Whitney Files told councilors there was a great need for such a shelter, saying it was a crisis situation.

The Flanagan Center would be a pilot project with the long-range goal of a year-round facility.

"Given the shortage of affordable housing in Knox County, and the need for supportive services to help individuals and families develop independent, hopeful lives, the long-term vision of this endeavor includes on-site supportive case management services. Consequently, this initial pilot will explore best practice to connect guests with a variety of agency-based case managers," the committee states in its written proposal to the city.

Rockland Councilor Ed Glaser said everyone knew there was a homeless problem and that it was worth trying for a year.

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 17, 2019 05:24

This is  a very worthwhile project that is being made possible by teamwork. Was led to make a donation of the amount it would have cost me to go on a mission trip to Cuba in honor of my Cuban friendsTheir sense of community, hospitality, faith and resolver attitude gave me a totally new outlook on life. Maybe your heart is open to give; either money or your prayers. They could use both.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 08, 2019 09:39

"Representatives of the Knox County Homeless Coalition, clergy, and concerned residents." Teamwork. Another breath of fresh air to see people quietly working on a solution instead of wringing their hands. WOW!!

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Aug 08, 2019 09:10

So I found out why the $90,000.  Mostly payroll.  Non-profit organizations love to add payroll, this give more social workers jobs so that it may appear they are helping those people that should be the ones getting the money.  I told the respondent  " why not use the $90,000 to build housing for the homeless " ?  Their answer:  "well that's in the works".

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Aug 06, 2019 08:02

I think providing needed shelter for the homeless is a worthy idea.  I am a bit confused why it would take over $90,000 to do so.

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