Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-portland-scrambles-to-rehouse-64-asylum-seeker-families-in-cockroach-infested-motel-–-taxpayers-spent-$10-million-a-year-on-its-shabby-rooms-as-maine’s-migrant-crisis-deepensAlert – Portland scrambles to rehouse 64 asylum-seeker families in cockroach-infested motel – taxpayers spent $10 MILLION a year on its shabby rooms as Maine’s migrant crisis deepens

Officials in Portland are scrambling to find homes for 64 asylum-seeker families after the taxpayer-funded motel they were staying in was shuttered over a cockroach infestation, as Maine’s migrant crisis deepens.

The state Department of Health and Human Services revoked the lodging license of the Motel 6 on Riverside Street, Portland, where more than 100 rooms were are used as emergency shelter for asylum seekers.

Inspectors found a cockroach infestation and other code violations at the motel — one of the few in Portland that accepts General Assistance vouchers for homeless, asylum seeker and other recipients.

The city is now working to rehouse the families by July 1.

The 'welcome' at the Motel 6 on Riverside Street, Portland, Maine, extends to cockroaches, safety inspectors say

The ‘welcome’ at the Motel 6 on Riverside Street, Portland, Maine, extends to cockroaches, safety inspectors say

The state Department of Health and Human Services says bugs were found at the motel this month

The state Department of Health and Human Services says bugs were found at the motel this month

The case spotlights how the migrant crisis has reached across the US — even Maine, where taxpayers complain of paying millions of dollars each year on migrants, when residents also need help.

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‘Currently, approximately 64 rooms at Motel 6 are occupied by families with children,’ city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin told DailyMail.com.

‘City staff are working diligently to find and transition these families to more permanent housing as soon as possible — two more families are scheduled to be moved out tomorrow.’

Grondin acknowledged that the motel’s eye-watering room rate — which has been ‘as high as $225/night’ — was a burden on taxpayers.

By one estimate, the shabby motel swallowed up more than $10 million a year.

‘Given the cost to the city and state, we’ve been working on rehousing families as quickly as possible into more cost-effective solutions,’ she said.

Portland health officials conducted a safety inspection of the motel in mid-March, and issued a notice of violations to the owners, Maple Hotel Enterprises.

Long-term residents of Motel 6 complained about cockroaches and harassment from staff

Long-term residents of Motel 6 complained about cockroaches and harassment from staff

TripAdvisor reviews of the hotel refer to everything from 'mold' to drug dealers in the parking lot

TripAdvisor reviews of the hotel refer to everything from ‘mold’ to drug dealers in the parking lot 

Maine opened up the Portland Expo Center's basketball arena for immigrants following the arrival of more than 800 asylums seekers last year

Maine opened up the Portland Expo Center’s basketball arena for immigrants following the arrival of more than 800 asylums seekers last year

Many of the families staying at the motel have children attending nearby schools.

At one point, the four-story block was crammed with 120 families.

Long-term residents complained about cockroaches, harassment from staff, and that it was difficult to prepare food there.

There are only two microwaves in the building, and residents were threatened with eviction if they installed hot plates in their rooms, it is alleged.

One former resident, an asylum seeker from Angola known as Maria, said cockroaches were a long-running problem.

Maria, who lived at the motel for about eight months last year, said she often found the bugs in her room and in her infant daughter’s crib.

‘Every time I put her in the crib, I found cockroaches there,’ Maria told Maine Public, speaking in French.

‘And I was afraid that the cockroaches could crawl into her ears or her nose.’

Maine's has been hit by a controversy over a housing development for asylum seekers on the edge of Brunswick

Maine’s has been hit by a controversy over a housing development for asylum seekers on the edge of Brunswick  

Competition for the Brunswick apartments was fierce. The application list was capped at 250 asylum seekers

Competition for the Brunswick apartments was fierce. The application list was capped at 250 asylum seekers

A tourist who stayed at Motel 6 in 2021 called it ‘the worst hotel I’ve stayed in,’ in an online review.

She described ‘homeless people walking in to use the microwave and drink the free coffee’ and ‘shady people loitering in the parking lot and lobby.’

The ‘bathroom floor was wet with human hair spread out over the floor,’ she added.

The eye-watering sums taxpayers spend on Motel 6 is just Maine’s latest migrant scandal, as record numbers of asylum seekers cross America’s southern border and fan out across the country.

Residents and Republican politicians have slammed Maine officials for lavishing millions of dollars on ‘Taj Mahal’ homes for asylum seekers while the state’s veterans and US-born homeless are struggling.

Republicans say the Democrat-run state has spent $34 million on shelters, hotels, and ‘luxury apartments’ for migrants, even as Maine Veterans’ Homes and other digs for ex-servicemen face cash shortfalls.

Much of the anger is directed at the 24 one- and two-bedroom apartments in attractive, three-story clapboard blocks that were recently given rent-free to 60 migrant families on the edge of Brunswick.