Friday, September 22, 2023
HomePoliticsAnchorage Assembly denies mayor's plan to build homeless navigation center

Anchorage Assembly denies mayor’s plan to build homeless navigation center

The Anchorage Assembly voted against the funding of Mayor Dave Bronson’s navigation center for the homeless, which was the hub of his plan to deal with the hundreds of homeless people in Anchorage. The amount requested was $4.9 million for a contract with Roger Hickel Contracting to begin work on the project, which has a total cost is $13.3 million for the project. The Assembly voted to take up the item in late October, which means the construction will not be done this year.

A navigation center is a type of one-stop-shop that includes some housing, but also referral services and social workers to get people who are living on the streets back into a productive life.

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For a year and a half the Assembly has prevented the mayor from building the center, and with winter approaching, the Assembly has delayed it once again.

Assemblyman Felix Rivera said the city “needs to focus 100% on the immediate need in front of us.”

Rivera also said the Golden Lion Hotel must instead be utilized as intended by the previous mayor, who resigned in disgrace. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wanted the hotel to be used for drug treatment.

The leftist Assembly members during the meeting expressed anger and disbelief that the State Department of Transportation has said it will likely claim the parking lot of the Golden Lion Hotel for the reconstruction of the intersection at the corner of 36th Avenue and New Seward Highway. Nevertheless, Rivera wanted a firm commitment from the mayor that he would put a drug treatment center at the Golden Lion. Neighbors in the area have objected to that plan.

Rivera also indicated that the money would be funneled to the Rasmuson Foundation, which would use it to purchase a building. Rivera said that the public would know what was going on in 45 days. The Assembly has given the Rasmuson Foundation $12 million with no specific deliverables.

Assemblyman Chris Constant was especially aggravated at the Transportation Department letter that described the need for eminent domain.

Rivera pointe out that the costs of the navigation center “have continued to balloon and the schedule continues to shift.” He said the Assembly needs more definitive answers to his questions “before we spend unknown millions of dollars.” Rivera also wanted to look at other sites for the navigation center. Currently, the mayor has chosen a site at Elmore and Tudor Road. Conservatives on the Assembly pointed out that the foot-dragging of the Assembly has been the reason why costs have climbed.

Lance Wilbur, the director of Public Works for Anchorage, said the Assembly has been briefed continuously on the project and that nothing about it should be a surprise to the appropriating body.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. The Assembly wants to make the “homeless” a permanent feature in Anchorage and have taxpayers support these folks seemingly forever. The other feature is that this permanent financial support must only flow through the Assembly’s preferred providers.

    • Austin, LA, SFO, Seattle, Honolulu, Denver. Those cities all opted for no accountability housing for a segment of the population whose entire life experience led them to be bums on the street. Who thinks this works? Austin has done a study proving their “investment” led to more of the same. Time to make the bums accountable and house (gently but firmly) the mentally ill.

    • Feel free to lead by example and take a few in to your home.

      It’s graciously easy to be compassionate with out her peoples land and money.

      • I’m happy to see my tax dollars used to help the homeless, provided that the assistance gets them back on track to being productive citizens.

        No doubt your tight-fisted approach prefers solutions akin to those used, say, oh, about 80 years ago in Europe…

  2. Put the homeless in the assembly’s Neighborhood and at any residence that displays leftist political signs. Yes I have some in my area but the left needs to step up with housing and funding for the problem they have caused by resistance for any outside ideas. It seams like they think they are the smartest kids on the block well put up or shut up assembly.

  3. The Assembly is totally against this because it will help reduce the problem.
    Leftists are not about solving problems, they are about perpetuating them, especially if it lines their pockets. Homelessness will never get better if the Assembly continues to push the same systems that have failed everywhere they are tried.

  4. Not one word of mention for building a mental health residential (locked) facility for the chronically mentally ill. Not a word for accountability for the perpetual drunks. Not a word for making the bums clean up and get a fricking job. Time to send some of the drunks back to their hometowns. The bush villages can banish their problems and we can’t?

    • Of course not.
      That would alleviate the problem. If the problem goes away, the Assembly will no longer be able to use that problem to hold onto power, and keep their hands in your wallet.

    • Anchorage is the largest village in Alaska. Bush villages are imploding and their finest and elderly are the ones moving to town, to be closer to medical care, education, training and the benefits of being Americans. Meanwhile, the ones remaining behind keep waiting for promises from the welfare tribes who march lockstep with Democrats and their vote getting spills.
      No fish now and no law enforcement in many villages so more generational substance abuse.
      Cry some more about ” banishing”

  5. Many homeless don’t want help, if they did they wouldn’t be homeless now would they? There are but a few who become homeless because of a series unfortunate circumstances but these folks always get back into a productive life in no time, we all know this. On this housing issue, I find it appalling the assembly has knocked down all efforts to build a one-stop center, instead their approach is to buy old worn properties scattered throughout the city, fiscally this makes zero sense as operational costs would be and are, exorbitant. Looking back at what has been purchased and used one can see these locations are in areas where vehicle traffic is a danger to pedestrians and also where residents complain about property values and such. This isn’t rocket science but from my standpoint it seems it is being comprehended as such by the assembly or they know and willfully are committing acts bordering on malfeasance. My instincts say, follow the money.

  6. The Sprung Tent was a waste of money from the getgo. Using the Golden Lion is the best use until needed for an interchange. The interchange is many years away, and not the best alternative IMO. by that time we will hopefully have a responsible Mayor

    • Again, lead by example. Take a dozen or so home. Show us how progressive compassion saves them. Hell, let them share your bed.

      Prove to us how it’s done. We want pictures.

      There’s a classic leftist move here. Redefine a term, “responsible” to mean taking a bad situation and making it worse.

      Myself, I’ll take the “irresponsibility” of the man trying to actually solve the problem.

      • Masked: Your Adopt The Homeless rebuttal is silly and disingenuous. That’s not how government works; nor should it.

        • I was wondering when you’d get around to throwing insults and bromides my way. I was beginning to feel like a wallflower at a high school dance.

          Oh honey. Im not talking government. I’m talking liberal hypocrites who want to force taxpayers to fund services that make hypocrite liberals feel better.

          How many homeless are living in your houses? Your yard? Share your bed? Got proof?

          Ghandi, King, Mandela, Chavez led by example. Modern liberals lead by latte.

          Speaking of government, it is not the role of a Republican style of government to enslave hard working people to those who refuse to live a productive or at least neutral lifestyle. That’s fascism. But I’m guessing by your library of comments your down with that. You go, girl.

          The proper role of government is to provide a basic foundation for society and get out of the way. Not to pick winners and losers, nor to force people to pay for someone else’s lifestyle or failures.

          Nor is it government‘s job to fund societal collapse. But I grant you the do it anyway.

          If you can show anything in the Alaska Constitution or the Muni charter which SPECIFICALLY requires funding and support for homeless, post it. Not vague, specifically.

          You do have a chance to get it into the Alaska Constitution. Join those of us who support a constitutional convention. Put forward your dream and see if it takes.

          Speaking of which, the great defenders of the people, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Joe Biden, etc lead privileged lifestyles while overseeing the literal deaths of millions. And millions more in near abject poverty.

          Facts, as John Adams famously said, are stubborn things.

          You can, and probably will, consider calling me racist, sexist, a bigot, heartless, fascist, and every kind of istophobe you can think of. Go for it if it makes you feel better. I’ve heard it before from people intellectually incapable of factual debate. It shows a deep seated emotional and intellectual insecurity you can’t actually debate an issue on merit.

          Doesn’t change the reality facts are on my side.

          You can even call me the evil C word. Christian. I’ll own that one. Happily.

          This is the one and only time I’ll bother to respond to you. Like Winnie the Pooh, I’ve many other things to do. I hope it’s all you wanted it to be.

          I’ll leave you with the same comment I also leave Frank Rast from time to time.

          You’re really not very good at this.

          • The intended purpose of the alcohol tax is to mitigate the impact of alcoholism which includes homeless. Not sure why anyone take an anonymous troll seriously

          • Masked, sorry I got under your skin like that. I didn’t call YOU silly and disingenuous. And you know what, I misunderstood you about who should be accepting the less fortunate into our homes. I was wrong. I thought you meant government, but you really meant those defined by the list of all the insults you provided.

            Here’s my core complaint with conservatives like you – you exaggerate. You include Joe Biden in a list of murderous dictators- “Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Joe Biden”. Stalin (six million direct deaths and nine million in total, including the deaths from deportation, hunger, and Gulag deaths); Lenin (up to 1.3 million ); Mao (deaths of up to 45 million); Pol Pot (1.5 to 3 million people).

            A mature man like you would apologize to the universe for indirectly accusing Biden of membership in that group.

          • Oh Lucinda you are hilarious!
            YOU of all people complain that conservatives exaggerate????!!! You have called Trump every name in the book and had him first in the list of evil doers every time. Look in the mirror if you dare.

    • And what happens when the golden lion is no longer big enough? There are more bums this year, there will be more next year as long as we keep giving homes to the homeless there is no incentive for them to find it in their own. You’re not very bright are you?
      How about when the bums trash the golden lion the same way they did the sully? Are we to pay for its reconstruction as we are going to have to for the Sullivan and Ben Boeke? Or will idiot democrats such as yourself say that the building is no longer fit for human capacitance and it should be demolished and something new, more expensive and ideal for housing bums be built in its place.
      The tent is not supposed to the Waldorf Astoria, nor is it meant to be permanent. The idea, dummy, is to affordably and quickly help the ones who want help and get them on their own two feet and off the public dole.
      I know this must be a foreign idea to a Wisconsin democrat but, at some point a government should try to cut spending and relieve the burden on its citizenry, before falling to levels of hell holes like Chicago, San Fran, L.A., NYC or Seattle.
      Wasting money on bums will never fix the problem.The “freebies” were never meant to be forever. There is a difference between a hand-out and a hand-up. That is ”Responsible”, nitwhit. Never ending spending by a leftist majority is fools idea of remediation.
      The ones who refuse to help themselves can stay outside until at such time they seek to remove themselves. One way or the other, makes no difference to us.

    • Frank, the golden lion in its current state is uninhabitable and will not pass the myriad of health and safety inspections required for a mass shelter and the assembly knows this. Even if we renovated the golden lion, how long does that take?? The GL will not meet the “immediate” need, to say nothing of all the other factors not in its favor. With the knowledge that the GL will only ever be a temporary solution, why not find a more permanent location and set-up from the start and not waste taxpayers money. I get a sense that there is another round of backroom deals in the making with certain hotel operators, justified as an interim “emergency” expenditure.
      Out of curiosity did the “homeless emergency” Berkowitz declared ever end???
      One further wonders where in all this is Meg Zalatel’s outfit?? Didn’t we pay them oodles of covid funds to take care of the homeless? What happened to all that money and more importantly, what have they done, other than refusing to play ball at the centennial campground?

      • If Bronson let’s them in, he’s guilty of housing them in substandard condition.

        Plus good luck ever getting them out.

        If he doesn’t, he’s Scrooge leaving them in the cold.

        It’s a classic no win trap.

  7. The mayor is lost. What was he thinking about using the rec centers as a homeless shelters. Bronson is in over his head. He needs to pull a palin and move to Texas

  8. I thought the navigation center was a go. I read on this site on Sept. 9th. “Additionally, with the city-funded Navigation Center expected to come online soon, another 150 beds, with the potential to surge up to 200 beds, will be available this winter” I think SD quoted that from the MOA Emergency Cold Weather Sheltering Plan. How does something come on line soon when it is not even funded?

  9. Its disgusting how former Mayor Berkowitz and this Assembly have allowed our major intersections to become playgrounds for the mentally ill and inebriated – and then threw dozens of pothead shops into the mix.

    Inebriates have set up shop on 18″ wide traffic islands, swaying unsteadily while motorists pass by at 45 mph. Drugged up Natives ‘subsisting’ along Tudor frequently lurch into, or jump in front of fast moving traffic – often while wearing dark clothing and during icy conditions.

    Taxpaying motorists are commuting to and from work and really shouldn’t have to deal with this. Yet the Assembly is unwilling to remove drunk/stoned Natives from our roadways, nor make necessary changes to local ordinances or public infrastructure to discourage this behavior. If an accident occurs, leftists naturally can be counted on to attack the unfortunate motorist – I’ve seen the old ADN comments section.

    Ending public subsidy for this type of behavior would be a start. Draft a panhandling ordinance with teeth – even if it means sacrificing “Fill the Boot” – and then allocate funds to fight the slimy ACLU lawyers.

      • LOL that’s rich Lucinda! Obama complained for 8 years that everything was Bush’s fault and now Biden is blaming all and sundry on Trump. Berkowitz did pretty much the same with Dan Sullivan. As an aside the vast majority of assembly members doling out the funds and voting how they are spent ARE STILL THERE. So let’s lay the blame mostly where it belongs!

  10. A GREAT PERFORMANCE LAST NIGHT. By BAD Actors, like really bad actors, ANCHORAGE this is what happens when you DONT show up to Assembly and get involved. THESE hollyweird stars HATE the homeless and the COnSERVATIVES ! some of them were even at the navigation center meetings and brought their heckling friends from WASHINGTON DC And shouted ” BIGOT BIGOT ” while sitting next to FORCE ( forest ) THEY CHOSE TO DO THIS DAYS before it snows over here at centennial where people get help every day and placement/treatment… SHAME ON THESE IDIOTS

  11. Both the JC Penney and the Sears warehouses are vacant and available, although I heard the Sears facility may have a buyer.

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