PORTLAND, Maine — In less than 24 hours, the remaining asylum seekers staying at the Portland Expo, will have to leave.
The city is closing the temporary shelter at the Expo Center Thursday afternoon and turning it back over to the Red Claws basketball team.
On Wednesday, August 14, families at the Expo were busy packing up their belongings.
Four families left the Expo Wednesday for permanent or temporary housing in Scarborough.
On Thursday, 10 families are expected to leave for housing in Brunswick and Bath.
30 additional families are staying in host homes in the Greater Portland area.
Papy Bongibo, President of the Congolese Community in Maine, says the host families are amazing.
"It was a good thing done so far, and we appreciate, you know, the hearts. We appreciate the gesture."
In total, city officials say 242 asylum seekers are now in permanent or temporary housing.
It's been a race to find housing for the asylum seekers, particularly with the deadline of August 15 approaching.
"The only ones excited are the families who found housing or a place to go," said Bongibo. "A few families who probably don't know where they're going to go -- they're not really happy, but we are doing the best we can to make sure they get somewhere, get housing."
At this time, city officials predict that only two or three families will have to go to one of Portland's two overflow shelters, which are not open 24-7.
That means the asylum seekers who end up at the shelters will have to leave them for twelve hours during the day -- something they didn't have to do at the Expo.