WATERVILLE — Gov. Paul LePage, once homeless himself, helped break ground Monday on a new $3 million homeless shelter here.
LePage, the city’s former mayor, was co-chairman several years of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter’s Board of Directors and helped start a search in the 1990s for a new shelter to replace the current one on Ticonic Street.
Monday’s ceremony was held at Pleasant Street United Methodist Church instead of the new two-acre shelter site on Colby Circle because of inadequate parking on that road, officials said.
Work on the new 40-bed shelter is expected to start soon, with the project to be completed in September. The two-story, 16,600-square-foot facility will replace the current 18-bed Ticonic Street shelter.
LePage told a crowd of about 150 city officials, homeless advocates, donors and others that the only way to deal with homelessness is to understand it.
“A lot of people who find themselves homeless are homeless because they probably have some medical issues; sometimes it’s mental health issues,” he said.
Once they are treated and stabilized, they can get back on their feet, according to LePage, who ran away as a boy and lived on the streets of Lewiston because his home was fraught with domestic violence, he has said.

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