A Portland, Maine entrepreneur has come forward with an unusual idea: Convert an old cruise ship into a floating neighborhood and dock it in Portland Harbor. Ken Capron, a former CPA and Microsoft Engineer who founded a nonprofit called Memory Works, is the visionary behind the project. He is seeking grant funding for a feasibility study to see if it would be possible purchase a retired cruise ship for around $20 million that would provide 100 housing units on each of four or five decks along with office space social services and job training programs. New England Cable News quoted Capron as saying, “We would give them all the resources they need to succeed, and we would put it right there on the ship.”
While the idea may sound wild at first, the mayor of Portland, Ethan Strimling, says the city needs more than 1,000 housing units to meet current needs. In an interview with local media, Mayor Strimling said, “I have no idea if it’s the craziest idea I’ve ever heard or the most brilliant idea I’ve ever heard, but what I like about it is that he’s coming up with creative ways to figure out how to build housing in the city of Portland.”
According to the news reports, Mr. Capron said the idea has been explored by cities such has San Francisco and Seattle, but they never moved forward with implementing floating housing.
Retired cruise ships have been used successfully as housing for the hospitality industry. Notable examples include the historic ship, Queen Mary, that is permanently docked in Huntington Beach, California and serves as a floating hotel. A grand passenger ship, The Dominion Monarch, provided temporary hotel space for the Seattle World’s Fair at Pier 51 on its way to the scrap yard in 1962.
While there is still much to be explored as to whether Mr. Capron’s idea would work, it is an intriguing idea. So, back to question posed at the start of this article, what do you think of his ideas and/or what would you suggest?
Waugh D. Non-Profit Wants to Convert Cruise Ship Into Homeless Shelter Off Maine Coast. New England Cable News (NECN). October 1, 2018.
Portland man floats idea of using old cruise ship for homeless shelter, affordable housing. WCBV News. October 1, 2018.
Photo credit: MSN
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