Letter to the Community Addressing Asylum-Seeking Families in Sanford

Dear Community Members,

We would like to address the recent influx of asylum-seeking families in Sanford. In accordance with Maine State Law, these families have qualified for General Assistance benefits and will receive these benefits, including temporary lodging, on a weekly basis. Our General Assistance Office is working tirelessly to aid everyone in need including the asylum-seeking families.

However, we must inform you that our city has reached its capacity as there is no further lodging available. If these families have already received General Assistance benefits in other communities, they may be disqualified from receiving assistance in Sanford. We have communicated this information to both the newly arrived families and our community partners statewide. As a result, anyone who arrives at the General Assistance Office seeking lodging will not be able to receive benefits until they themselves can identify suitable housing.

We want to assure you that we are actively collaborating with several community partners, including York County Community Action, Sanford Housing, General Assistance, Sanford School District, Nasson Health Care, York County Shelter Program, and local hotels to provide aid to these families during this challenging time. We are holding weekly meetings with City officials, community partners, and representatives from the Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition to stay informed of the situation and coordinate our support efforts. Extensive discussions are continuing to coordinate resources to provide food, transportation, and medical services to the families.

If you would like to help, please use the established food bank and donation channels, as they are actively working with the City to provide support and have extensive experience working with asylum-seekers in other communities. These organizations will be able to identify specific needs so donated resources are not wasted.
Outside of the public transportation system, you will likely see large groups of walkers in areas where they are not typically seen. Please exercise caution with the increased pedestrian presence.

There will be an emergency City Council Meeting, tomorrow, Tuesday, May 9th, at 5:00 p.m. The City Manager will provide an update on the ongoing coordination of the municipal response to the current influx of asylum seekers to Sanford and cooperation with local, regional, and state organizations to address the situation in an efficient and coordinated manner.

Please be patient as the municipality and our partners work to provide support and assistance to these families.

Thank you,
The City of Sanford