Avesta Housing plans apartments for asylum seekers in South Portland, Portland

Avesta Housing is negotiating contracts to provide 100 apartments for asylum seekers now receiving emergency shelter in Greater Portland hotels.

The permanent housing will be located in projects under construction in Portland and South Portland, but Avesta and state officials aren’t saying exactly where they are or who’s building them.

The rents will be funded with a portion of the $22 million that the Legislature earmarked in the biennial state budget to address emergency housing needs across Maine. The cost of the apartments hasn’t been announced, but it’s expected to be a lot less than the $200 to $300 per night that MaineHousing and other agencies are paying for hotel rooms.

“That cost is just not sustainable,” said Dana Totman, Avesta Housing’s executive director. “Part of what we’re doing is going to save significant public dollars.”