The Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter at 19 Colby St. in Waterville.

WATERVILLE — The Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter is ready, should a guest or staff member be diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Such a diagnosis had not happened as of Thursday, even though the shelter was at capacity, according to Katie Spencer White, its executive director.

“We’ve been really fortunate,” Spencer White said. “Guests at other shelters in the state have tested positive. The team has really pulled together.”

Katie Spencer White, executive director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville, said Thursday the shelter was coronavirus-free.

In late March, Waterville city government assisted the shelter in finding space in area hotels for shelter guests at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Guests are still being housed at hotels, Spencer White said. The cost of the hotel rooms is being covered by funds from General Assistance and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, through the Maine State Housing Authority.

The Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter has 56 beds, along with 12 small apartments for young adults ages 18 to 24 on the second floor.


While the facility is full, a factor in the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter’s ability to remain coronavirus-free has been the Waterville area’s relatively stable homeless population.

Last month, officials reported that the Oxford Street Homeless Shelter in Portland had its first case of coronavirus.

At the Waterville shelter, guests rarely come and go after a night or two, Spencer White said.

“Some guests have been able to find places with family or friends, places that were not available before the crisis,” Spencer White said. “People are taking the governor’s stay-at-home order seriously.”

Local restaurants and colleges have donated food, Spencer White said, and the shelter’s food bank is full.

Volunteers have made face masks for use at the shelter. Despite the current crisis, the shelter’s mission has not changed, Spencer White said.


“We’re still working on finding permanent housing (for guests),” she said. “That’s always the end goal.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and more people become unemployed, Spencer White said she expects the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter will see an increase in the number of people needing its services.

“We’re not the front line of the public health crisis,” Spencer White said, “but we are at the front line of the economic crisis.”

She said the shelter will continue working with Waterville officials to manage the crisis.

“We’re just really grateful to the city of Waterville and all our partners,” Spencer White said. “People are conquering their fear and coming together.”

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