Officials dealing with Bangor's homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic have had one major issue to contend with: where to put the city's homeless where they can maintain social distancing, and stay safe amidst the ever-present threat of the virus.

It's no secret that the homeless population is one of the highest risk populations, when it comes to contracting and spreading COVID-19.

"Because many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions they may also be at increased risk for severe illness than the general population. Health departments and healthcare facilities should be aware that people who are homeless are a particularly vulnerable group. If possible, identifying non-congregate settings where those at increased risk can stay may help protect them from COVID-19."

With limited space at both the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter and at the Hope House Shelter, local organizations like Penobscot Community Health Care, have had to think outside the box on how and where to house this at-risk population.

According to a recent report by WABI-TV5, funds were secured from the Maine State Housing Authority and the Ramada Inn on the Odlin Road has been leased by the state, to add extra space in which to allow the homeless to spread out.

While it's currently closed to the public, city officials say the transition won't be permanent.

"According to the city manager, any long term change to the hotel would need approval and likely zoning changes."

We contacted the Bangor planning office, and officials said there are no plans in the works to rezone that area, at the moment.

KEEP READING: 50 community resources supporting Americans financially impacted by COVID-19

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