LePage Faults Portland’s Shelter System in State Audit

Mayor Michael Brennan Respo;nds to LePage Audit This Afternoon at city hall.

Mayor Michael Brennan Responds to LePage Audit This Afternoon at city hall.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,317)

“If someone sought a place to sleep from a shelter late on a cold night, what would you do?” asked Mayor Michael Brennan this afternoon at city hall.  “Wouldn’t you let them stay the night before checking their financial status?”

Brennan’s question came in response to a controversial State 18-page audit performed late last month by the Department of Health and Human Services and released to the city last Friday afternoon.

The audit claims that Portland is in “violation of a number of statutory and regulatory requirements, including but not limited to improper eligibility determination and reimbursement practices…………” The audit states that at least thirteen who stayed the most often in city shelters had about $20,000. in savings or checking accounts in their names.  One individual reportedly had $161,351 in liquid assets according to the audit.

“We do check for financial eligibility.  Applicants go through a whole process.  If someone stays in a shelter for more than seven nights, we check their qualifications for GA.  We probably do a better job checking than other towns,” Mayor Brennan said.

“This is politically motivated.  I’m confident that we are functioning within state law,” said the Mayor.  He and city staff members are planning to meet with Governor LePage in  Augusta sometime late in March.  No date for that meeting has been set yet.

The City of Portland will be given an opportunity to response in writing to this audit.