The focus for Coleta Crowell for many years was helping others first, be it her 13-year-old son or the elderly residents of Bedside Manor in Oakland where she works. But now she finds herself struggling to help herself, let alone those around her.

After Crowell and her son were kicked out of the apartment they were sharing with friends, she turned to the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, which paid for them to stay at the Comfort Inn in Augusta. Not even two months later, the two have to move again as the hotel will no longer work with KVCAP.

“That’s what I do for a living — I take care of people with intellectual disabilities and the elderly,” Crowell said. “And then I’m homeless myself right now, and I’m struggling trying to get everything together. And I feel bad but I can’t help people the way that I usually do.”

More than 40 people on the brink of being homeless who have been staying at hotels in Augusta with the support of KVCAP will have to find new housing come Monday, after the hotels said they will no longer offer long-term stays to them, according to Andrea Pasco, development director at KVCAP.

The organization has been using state money from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to book long-term stays for people at the Comfort Inn and also the Best Western.

The hotels are no longer able to offer long-term stays at the weekly rates it had offered to KVCAP, Pasco said. After Monday, those who wish to remain at the hotels can make a reservation on their own at the daily rate the hotels offer, and the stay will be capped at 27 days.


Comfort Inn General Manager Jeff Howes said Friday that he had been advised not to comment on the matter. A receptionist at the Best Western said staff was directed not to discuss it either.

Crowell said she heard about the looming deadline from another person at the hotel, and had only 10 days to find new housing for her and her son.

She’s been at the Comfort Inn since early September and the relocation meant that she had to move her son from his school in Skowhegan to Oakland because she couldn’t drive the longer distence anymore.

Even with her full-time job, Crowell said she has struggled to find a place she can afford. And, along with rent, she has to cover car payments, auto insurance and gas.

Pasco said there are housing plans in place for some of the people affected, with one family saying it has a tentative solution for housing while some others have not reached out for assistance. KVCAP is continuing to work with others to develop relocation plans.

KVCAP doesn’t have the funding to offer shelter services, CEO Suzanne Walsh said in a statement.

“This issue will take a community effort to help transition these families to a safe housing alternative,” Walsh said. “KVCAP stands ready to assist with this effort in whatever ways we can to ensure families and communities are healthy and thriving.”

As for Crowell, she was able to secure a spot at Home Place Inn in Waterville for now. But she worries about other people who don’t have anywhere to go.

“It’s hard; it’s a struggle, but I’m doing the best that I can for me and my son. And I’m trying to help people when I see them,” Crowell said. “But I can’t do much right now, because of the situation that I’m in.”

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