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Sex offenders find refuge at hotels funded by FEMA, investigation reveals

Days Inn in South Portland (WGME)
Days Inn in South Portland (WGME)
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Some hotels in a Maine city have been in the spotlight since the start of the pandemic, as they began housing individuals experiencing homelessness as well as asylum seekers.

A concerned citizen in South Portland asked the WGME I-Team about it.

There are quite a number of sex offenders living in hotels in South Portland through payments from Maine state housing and federal COVID relief monies. It is my understanding that sex offenders are not eligible for subsidized housing. So, why is it federal monies can be used to house them?”

Under federal rules through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, people with a lifetime listing on the sex offender registry are not eligible for Section 8 or other subsidized public housing.

Searching Maine’s sex offender registry, WGME found a handful of lifetime offenders with primary addresses at hotels in South Portland, including the Days Inn and Comfort Inn, which are being used as emergency shelters and paid for with federal FEMA funds.

MaineHousing said the federal rules for emergency shelters are different from the rules for permanent housing subsidies.

The Days Inn and Comfort Inn are considered “low barrier” shelters, meaning they don't require background checks, credit checks, sobriety, or identification.

MaineHousing said most of the individuals staying there are those who would normally be at homeless shelters in the city of Portland.

The agreement with the two hotels will continue until Portland’s new homeless shelter opens, which is expected to be in early 2023.

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