Anchorage Assembly approves two more contracts for winter shelter hotel rooms


The Aviator Hotel and Alexa Hotel and Suites were awarded contracts by the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday.

Henning, Inc., a nonprofit, will get $1.55 million to run hotel-room shelter space in the Alex Hotel and Suites in Spenard. The group will rent 50 rooms to house up to 100 people through the winter months until April.

Alaska Hotel Group, which owns the Aviator Hotel downtown, was awarded a $4.34 million contract to provide 137 rooms for up to 274 people. This is the same group, led by Mark Begich, as provided similar services to the city during the Covid pandemic.

The total that taxpayers will spend on this winter shelter aspect of homelessness is $5.89 million for up to 374 people, or nearly $16,000 per person for six months of hotel shelter.

For the extremely-hard-to-help homeless, the Bronson Administration wants to use a mass care approach that would be located at the old waste transfer station in midtown Anchorage. The Administration has asked for an award of over $2 million for Henning, INc. to run the facility, which is currently an empty warehouse-style building. The Anchorage Assembly will take up that matter at a special meeting set for Thursday. and will vote on contracts for food services for these and other shelters around town.

Anchorage must provide heated shelter for homeless, if nonprofits run out of room, once temperatures dip into the mid-40s, which they have. This morning, Anchorage is in the mid-30s with icy rain.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bronson said it would be cheaper to buy tickets for people to fly out of Anchorage to be taken care of by family, but that plan was never going to be funded by the Assembly.

In addition to the Alexa Hotel and Suites and the Aviator Hotel, homeless are now sheltered in the former Golden Lion Hotel and the former Sockeye Inn. Anchorage Affordable Housing and Land Trust purchased three more hotels and converted them to homeless hotels: Guest House in downtown (130 people), and the Barratt Inn (96 units) and LakeHouse in Spenard (45 units).

The trend toward “Housing First” in Anchorage through converting hotels started in 2011, when Karluk Manor was converted to become Anchorage’s first permanent housing for chronically homeless alcoholics. It has 46 units.


  1. Leftists, once again giving away other people’s money in order for them to look good.
    One day, maybe the Anchorage voters will see that the Assembly continually puts the wants of the homeless before the needs of the taxpayers and stop this crap. Doing exactly what Portland, Seattle, and San Fran are doing, but expecting different results is a dereliction of duty. Any Assembly member who votes for this should be forced to live in these hotels for the entire winter.

    • ERRRRR!!! Try again! Housing first as a homeless policy is an abject failure. That social experiment has been run and failed time and time again. Being homeless is a SYMPTOM it is not the PROBLEM. Throwing $ at symptoms doesn’t solve the problem; it merely drags out and increases the symptoms. But socialists don’t want to solve social problems because once they are solved there is no more money+votes=power+control to be policy-squeezed out anymore.

    • Dollars are better spent on plowing the roads, funding the police, and keeping the parks clean.
      These dollars are wasted totally on the homeless, and frankly, the less we spend on them, the better off everyone will be.

    • You are more than welcome to donate your home as the first shelter for the homeless.
      Your donation will be applauded.
      Until then your comments suggesting my tax dollars be spent on stupidity will be ignored.
      You can also prove stupidity by putting out food for the poor hungry bears around your house.

  2. The Barratt used to be my go to before traveling out to the bush. It was remodeled several years ago. Can’t say how the condition is now. We used to have to take the tunnel to go across the street to get breakfast before they opened their own nook.

  3. What a great idea to get high occupancy during off-season on normally unoccupied hotel rooms. That Mark Begich continues to profit from his helpers on the assembly couldn’t be more obvious than this last maneuver, to include stopping the construction of the navigation center and denial of funds to send the transients home if they wished. How much more obvious can they get? There needs to be a fine audit on this entire program by a neutral party, like yesterday. The taxpayers as well as the homeless are being played for profit, and the same names keep coming up.

  4. May I suggest that your assembly buy the Alyeska Resort? I would identify as homeless and would ask if I can be housed there for the season. Now, you Anchorage Folk don’t be using my idea here. I want the first room available. Oh, is there a homeless-ski bum-lift ticket voucher? Asking for a friend

  5. Offer a one-way plane ticket out plus next year’s dividend – paid if they stay out. Anyone who takes the deal agrees not to return unless or until they are no longer homeless and they reimburse what they received.

  6. Maybe I can get them to lease my house for more than I paid for it.
    Then, I could pull out to someplace in the real Alaska, and relax.

  7. Trig has hit the nail on the head and it makes perfect sense. The predominantly leftwing Assembly awards a former leftwing mayor another contract while Zalatel plunges her left wing into the honey pot… again. I’ll add to what others have mentioned on this issue and others: If our side got out and voted in an organized and cohesive fashion as do the left, we might not be witnessing this revolving door.

  8. Well, the hotel that’s been vacant forever and a day; should have been turned into the homeless shelter. I thought there were structural issues with that building anyways? The thought of turning it into ANOTHER hotel in Anchorage? I hope it falls on their heads for their arrogance about it all. Good earthquake will do it!

  9. This is nothing more than stealing from me to enrich Begich and company. Taxation without representation. And it isn’t going to do one damn thing about solving any problem except the hotel vacancy rate.

  10. “In addition to the Alexa Hotel and Suites and the Aviator Hotel, homeless are now sheltered in the former Golden Lion Hotel and the former Sockeye Inn. Anchorage Affordable Housing and Land Trust purchased three more hotels and converted them to homeless hotels: Guest House in downtown (130 people), and the Barratt Inn (96 units) and LakeHouse in Spenard (45 units).”
    All this time I thought Anchorage homelessness was a “cottage industry”. Have they started flying them up yet?

  11. Not sure what mandates “Anchorage must provide heated shelter for homeless, if nonprofits run out of room…”, what agency enforces such a mandate, how it’s financed, especially post Eaglexit, how it came to “must”.
    In October, 2021, ADN reporter Emily Goodykoontz reports: “Bronson administration fires head of city’s operations at Sullivan Arena amid shakeup of Anchorage’s homelessness management team”.
    “The city’s mass care branch chief, Shawn Hays, said she was fired Wednesday.
    In MRAK, October 2023, we read: “Henning, Inc., a nonprofit, will get $1.55 million to run hotel-room shelter space in the Alex Hotel and Suites in Spenard.”
    The registered agent for Henning, Inc is Shawn Hays.
    At Assemblywoman Zalatel’s Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness page, we find Henning Inc. in the list of partner/members.
    One big happy family, one epic racket, who knows?

  12. I remember when Mayor Sullivan had the Red Inn turned into such a place that today it looks like a graveyard as I drive past. A lot of people died there. The moderate and conservative Democrats at the time I remember didn’t like it. It was at this time I began watching the exodus of those elite conservative democrat home owners of downtown historic neighborhood while i was renting an apartment in their neighborhood because of its safety. They knew anchorage was descending into Hoboville.

    These building sites these politicians are making to house alcoholics and addicts where they can “disappear” into a room and die, these politicians have blood stains on their hands.

  13. When the homeless get kicked out in April then what ? Those motels will need to be burned. I hope the ragamuffins here in Palmer start heading your way Anchorage.

  14. Isn’t that nice that the Assembly has no qualms in awarding a fellow democrat millions of dollars to house the homeless in hotels rather than building the facility Mayor Bronson proposed when he first got into office? Mayor Bronson’s facility would have housed and fed the homeless as well as provided counseling services and treatment for mental health, alcohol and drug issues. The Assembly’s hoteling service allows the addictive behavior to continue, and as far as I know, offers no rehabilitative services whatsoever. It is just one big free party zone at the hotels, all at the expense of the Anchorage taxpayers. Anchorage is becoming the cesspool that other democratic run cities have turned into. Conservatives need to step up and start voting those people out of the Assembly and other critical offices (school boards, etc) and get this city back to the clean, safe and decent place it use to be.

  15. There is a level of compassion that I think is extended to the homeless in our community, but for the most part, it is plain stupidity. The city will spend millions so that the Assembly can virtue signal on housing homeless… and then spend millions more next year…. and millions more the year after… and millions more the year after. They have no solution for dealing with the homeless in our community then to just feed it.
    The need is to get rid of the homeless. The most compassionate way is to offer a plan to get them off the streets, get them employed and help them to become productive and independent members of our community. The Assembly simply wants to spend taxpayers’ money and be enablers.
    There are too many bad ideas out there regarding “helping” the homeless and our Assembly seems compelled to follow every one of them.
    We cover our dumpsters so not to attract bears in the summer; we should follow the same logic regarding the homeless. Compassion is not making people dependent on handouts. We will be far better stewards of our tax dollars if we helped them to survive on their own.

  16. Begich fixing up his hotel through assembly handouts, that is leftist grift at its best. Wake up Anchorage! Come on Eaglexit, it can’t happen soon enough. Let’s pull our 130 million in taxes out of Anchorage.

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