Prompted by the recent influx of individuals and families seeking asylum in Portland, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council voted on July 8, 2019 to appropriate $5,000. from undesignated funds to Opportunity Alliance and $5,000. to Preble Street, two local service agencies already supported by the town.
In addition, councilors directed the Town Manager Matthew Sturgis to look in to what programs Community Services might be able to offer and whether the town’s Thomas Jordan Trust might be a resource for Cape Elizabeth residents providing housing to those seeking asylum.
Placed on the July 8th agenda to update the council on regional efforts to aid those seeking asylum, councilors spent an hour discussing options for helping the city of Portland respond to the social-service challenges. They agreed upon donations, in view of many councilors, represent a strengthened commitment to support vulnerable populations in Greater Portland and follow Portland city manager Jon Jennings recommendation that communities wishing to help work through existing social-service agencies.
“We’re giving it to an entity that we have historically supported as an attempt to shoulder our share of the burden of the crises in the Greater Portland area – not for this group in particular, but for all of the greater community,” said Councilor Chris Straw, explaining his rationale for supporting the appropriation.
City spokeswoman Jessica Grondin has said there will be no public press release thanking Cape Elizabeth for its generousity. She has not responded to an email from mhn.com asking how many asylum seekers in Portland have been placed in permanent homes since they need to be out of the Portland Expo by mid-August.