BRUNSWICK — Tedford Housing is pausing its plans for a new 16,000-square-foot resource center and has let its purchase and sale agreement for the site expire.

Tedford’s $4 million capital campaign is on hold as well.

When Tedford Housing began talking about locating a new resource center at the corner of Baribeau Drive and Pleasant Hill Road and consolidating two homeless shelters there, town employees realized Brunswick didn’t have zoning regulations in place to apply to the project, even though Tedford has operated two homeless shelters in town for three decades.

Meanwhile, Tedford faced resistance from the 62 Pleasant Hill Coalition, a group of neighbors near the proposed site that supported a moratorium. Before Tedford submitted any formal plans for the new facility, the Brunswick Town Council in April passed a six-month moratorium blocking any new homeless shelter in town before a zoning amendment could be passed.

“Once we know the final zoning amendment, Tedford will know what decisions we need to make that would then lead to renewing our search for property,” Tedford director Craig Phillips said.

One option could include breaking the project into smaller pieces. The new resource center would allow Tedford to provide many other resources on-site to help people get back on their feet and into permanent housing. A consolidated facility still is preferred from a management and program perspective and to serve more people, Phillips said Thursday.

The work by the shelter task force comes at a time when the need for shelters is increasing. Tedford commissioned a report by Planning Decisions two years ago that revealed more than 400 adults in 2015 went to Tedford for help but only a quarter could be sheltered. Only 22 of 300 families calling Tedford that year could be sheltered.

The Tedford resource center was designed to double the beds it has now, to 30 adult beds and 12 family units.

A similar consolidated facility opened in 2012 in Waterville. Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter provides 48 beds — half for families on one side, and the other half for single adults.

“Rural homelessness is someone’s mother, child, father, sister,” Mid-Maine director Betty Palmer said. “They’re not big-city strangers. They’re our neighbors. We do not have violence in our shelter. We do not have big drug deals in our shelter.”

Palmer said the real challenge in Brunswick is to have a conversation about poverty, the causes of poverty and the symptoms. Regardless of whether Tedford Housing is allowed to build its new resource center, she said, the homeless population remains, and “it’s just how are you going to manage them more efficiently and effectively.”

“We’re just trying to come up with a sensible solution for those of us who are homeless,” said Brunswick Town Councilor James Mason, who chairs a taskforce examining the zoning issue.

“There are a lot of things that we have to consider,” Mason added. “As we’ve said all along, this is not about where Tedford’s project goes. It’s where we as a town want to look at this use and how does that reflect on our zoning codes.”

It’s a good time to have the conversation about homelessness, Mason said. Affordable real estate in this part of Maine is in short supply. The Maine State Housing Authority lists $283,000 as the median home price for the Brunswick micropolitan housing market in 2017. The median income was only $58,367, compared to the $68,121 income needed to afford a median home price.

Meanwhile, the lack of affordable rentals is putting families at risk.

The Portland Press Herald reported last month that the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report showed a $7.29-per-hour gap in Maine between an average renter’s wage and the wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment comfortably. Federal housing and U.S. Census data put the average Maine renter’s wage at $11.44 per hour, while the hourly wage needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment is $18.73 per hour — the ninth-highest in the nation.

Tedford’s data notes that seven of its 15 guests at the adult shelter were employed. About a quarter of families and single adults staying at Tedford are from Brunswick, with most others being from the surrounding area. Only 11 percent were from outside Maine.

Tedford’s director of operations, Giff Jamison, told task force members last month that while it takes most guests at the adult shelter about three months to find housing, it normally takes a little longer for families, which often have mitigating circumstances.

“Right now, one of the things we’ve seen is serving fewer people for longer period of time, and that really has to do with the affordable-housing market,” Jamison said. “We’re able to equip people with being able to afford their housing, but it’s just finding the housing that is difficult right now.”

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