Reimbursements for Asylum Seeker Services

The City of Portland launched an application process in late 2019 for community partners to request reimbursement for expenses they incurred as a result of the unprecedented influx of asylum seekers this past summer. The City of Portland operated an emergency shelter at the Portland Expo between June 9 and August 15, processing intake for almost 450 people. During that time, the City was able to house more than 200 of those people with additional families being placed in host homes and others staying at the City’s Family Shelter until housing units could be found and arranged. The Expo shelter was the first time the City had run a 24/7 emergency family shelter operation. Subsequently to the Expo center shelter closure the City has received hundreds of additional asylum seekers at our City facilities. 
Donations received from the public helped to offset the approximately $3.3M in unplanned expenditures the City incurred to support housing/shelter/basic necessities of asylum seekers in FY20.  In addition to this expense the City distributed an additional $310k to community partners to reimburse partners for documented primary/secondary expenditures they incurred.  Offsetting that total $3.6M in expenditures was $1.9M of reimbursement from the State of Maine (70% share of General Assistance expenses for asylum seekers) and $977k in private donations received to support the shelter/housing/basic necessities for asylum seekers.  As a result there was a net cost to local Portland property taxpayers of approximately $728k from the summer 2019 influx. 
The City has fully reimbursed all community partners who applied for reimbursement of documented primary and secondary expenditures.  Although no remaining funding is available for community partners anyone interested in future funding opportunities can email

Key Documents

Final Report of Donations Received and Aid Provided During the 2019 Asylum Seeker Influx and Subsequent Expo Emergency Operations Center