Legal fight against Maine hotels used to house the homeless

In state news on homelessness: Controversy over housing people in main hotels after complaints from neighbors, and in Montana there were warnings about the risk of frostbite for the homeless. shelter during a record cold snap. In Albuquerque, a new homeless shelter will only serve women.

Bangor Daily News: Bangor Motel wants judge to say whether to accept homeless customers using vouchers

A Bangor motel wants a judge to decide whether to accommodate homeless guests who pay for their rooms with city-issued vouchers. The Travelodge on Odlin Road filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Penobscot County Superior Court after receiving a notice from a legal aid group saying it and other motels had broken the law on Maine’s human rights when they turned away homeless guests with housing vouchers. (2/28)

AP: Two hotels to stop housing the homeless following complaints

Two hotels in Maine will stop housing hundreds of homeless people due to complaints from neighboring businesses. The Days Inn and Comfort Inn near the Maine Mall in South Portland will not renew their contract with MaineHousing to provide emergency shelter when it expires on May 31, the Portland Press Herald reports. Suresh Gali, head of New Gen Hospitality Management which operates the hotels, made the announcement during a meeting on Friday, according to the newspaper. (2/26)

Billings Gazette: Severe frostbite among Billings homeless follows record-breaking cold

The record cold that has settled over Billings this week is the kind of cold that can freeze bare skin in minutes. And for homeless people, frostbite and hypothermia are a major concern. On Wednesday, temperatures dropped to minus 21 at the airport and minus 26 in the West End of Billings. The day’s high was minus 3. (Schabacker, 2/26)

Albuquerque Journal: The city’s gateway center will be open only to women

When the Albuquerque City Homeless Shelter finally opens, it will cater exclusively to women — and it will maintain that focus for the indefinite future. The city decided to launch the Gateway Center in southeast Albuquerque with 50 beds for women. While officials have in the past described the gateway as a 24/7 operation to help anyone, regardless of gender, religion or sobriety, they say starting exclusively with women is the most resource-wise. (Dyer, 02/28)

Billings Gazette: Patients find home care thanks to St. V’s new cardiac program

Debbie Ettleman is one of the first St. Vincent Healthcare patients to receive a full-assist heart pump, which just a month ago would have required her to travel to a big city. When patients’ hearts are weak, surgeons attach the device to replace function on the left side of the heart, allowing those muscles to rest completely, said Dr. Simon Maltais, a newly hired cardiac surgeon at SCL Health. (Ackerman, 02/26)

Des Moines Registry: Polk residents will receive $35 million in unspent rental relief funds in Iowa

Polk County residents will soon be able to apply for an additional $35 million in pandemic-related rent assistance after some prodding from the U.S. Treasury Department by U.S. Representative Cindy Axne. Axne, D-Iowa, announced Friday that the Treasury has approved the reallocation of federal funds from the state of Iowa to Polk County after writing a letter earlier this month to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. (Rood, 02/25)

The Baltimore Sun: A trip to the ER nearly canceled a Baltimore couple’s wedding. But nurses at Ascension St. Agnes Hospital did.

Tony and Neunutae Bell had counted the days until their wedding. After getting engaged three years ago and waiting for COVID-19 cases to decline, the couple realized this past Thanksgiving that a rare date would arrive: February 22, 2022. It’s a day of palindrome, which is a number or word that can be read the same way forwards and backwards – and that was a Tuesday. Such a “Twosday” will not happen again for 400 years. But a few days before the planned wedding at the courthouse, Tony found himself in the emergency room of Ascension Sainte Agnès hospital. The Baltimore couple were ready to call off the wedding. But once Erynn Bossom, a nurse manager on the neurology and stroke floor found out, she started putting a plan in motion. (Oxenden, 02/28)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.