“Expo” Opens April 10 as Temporary Emergency Shelter for Asylum Seekers

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The Portland Expo Home to the Maine Celtics, is soon to be a Temporary Home to Asyum Seekers in This State.

The Portland Expo, Home to the Maine Celtics, is Soon to be a Temporary Home to Asylum Seekers in Southern Maine.

The James A Banks Portland Expo building will open on Monday, April 10, 2023 to serve as a temporary emergency shelter through the summer for asylum seekers.  The building is expected to accommodate 300 asylum seekers according to a press release issued by the city today.

“This is a very dire situation and the opening of the EXPO is the last overnight overflow space that we as city staff have available to open and operate,” said Interim City Manager Danielle West.  “We are truly beyond our capacity to be able to continue to provide compassionate care for those seeking shelter.  We especially do not have further ability to assist in terms of additional locations, staffing, or other resoures.  Of course, we continue to work with our state and regional community partners to find ways in which other emergency housing and services can be provided to accommodate asylum seeker arrivals.  It is our hope that at least one new facility in the area will come online this summer.”

The city is currently providing shelter for approxinately 1,200 people on a nightly basis.  The EXPO is expected to be almost full upon opening on Monday, April 10.  Services at the EXPO will onlly be available to those who are registered to stay there.

The city is again asking the community to help with donations.  Monetary donations can be given by texting the word EXPO to 91999,  Or donations can be mailed or dropped off at city hall.

Since January 1, 2023 alone, the city has seen roughly 1,000 asylum seekers seeking shelter and services.  The city had been using a public school gym to serve as an overnight overflow shelter space.