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Maine finds homes for several hundred African asylum seekers

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Some 200 asylum-seeking families from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola were housed in the Expo Center in Portland, Maine, in July. Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff/File

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A frantic scramble has produced homes for most of the hundreds of African asylum seekers whose arrival flooded shelters in Maine’s largest city.

A coalition of groups steered more than 200 of the new arrivals to homes. But some are expected to end up in a homeless shelter after a temporary emergency shelter closes Thursday.

The arrival of the Angolans and Congolese at the Texas border showed that it’s not just Central Americans making the journey to the United States. Hundreds of Africans fleeing their homelands were also joining in the land route, traveling thousands of miles, often on foot.

Thousands of African immigrants have settled in Maine. But the arrival of so many at the same time forced Portland to open an emergency shelter on a basketball court.