Portland's Oxford Street shelter eases overcrowding

11:14 AM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Officials have alleviated crowding problems at Portland's Oxford Street homeless shelter by tightening the rules that previously allowed people to stay indefinitely.

Director Josh O'Brien says residents can no longer stay indefinitely unless they also agree to work on a plan to find permanent housing.

He tells The Portland Press Herald the new policy is already a success, with 54 people placed in permanent housing in March, a 30 percent increase over the previous month.

At times, the shelter was so crowded that people were sleeping in conference room chairs in the city's Refugee Services office.

The new policy also applies to the Florence House, an emergency shelter for women.

Some homeless people think the plan might backfire, just putting more homeless people on the streets.

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