Anchorage Assembly expands zones for homeless shelters to midtown, will force licensing for shelter operators - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, July 24, 2021
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Anchorage Assembly expands zones for homeless shelters to midtown, will force licensing for shelter operators

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday passed ordinances opposed by residents across the city and also objected to by operators of homeless shelters and facilities.

The first ordinance expands the zoning for homeless shelters into areas called B-3 business districts. Most of the B-3 areas are in Midtown Anchorage. Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel of Midtown was the sponsor of the ordinance that will bring more crime and social problems to Midtown neighborhoods.

Zaletel is the subject of a recall effort that is now underway.

The B-3 district in Anchorage “is intended for primarily for general commercial uses in commercial centers and area exposed to heavy traffic. These commercial uses are intended to be located on arterials, or within commercial centers of town, and to be provided with adequate public services and facilities,” according to the Municipality, but the zone butts up against residential neighborhoods. The purpose of the ordinance is to spread out the homeless problem to reduce its impacts on the downtown district and make other neighborhoods share the burden.

The second ordinance is going to require homeless shelters to be licensed by the municipality by 2023. This ordinance was objected to by faith-based organizations who say that the Assembly, run by a leftist majority, is trying to force women’s shelters to admit transgendered individuals.

Read: Targeting faith-based organizations, Assembly seeks to license shelters

Only Chugiak/Eagle River Assemblywomen Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy voted against the ordinances, which passed 8-2.

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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.

Latest comments

  • “The purpose of the ordinance is to spread out the homeless problem to reduce its impacts on the downtown district and make other neighborhoods share the burden.”
    It is not a function of government to address homelessness except when the homeless commit crimes or in some other way violate legitimate laws or the rights of other citizens.
    At that point government is using its police powers to interact with homeless as the criminals they are.
    Providing resources or services to enhance the lifestyles of homeless people at public expense is not a valid governmental role.
    That is taking resources from those who worked for them to give to people who did not earn them and that is the definition of a socialist government.
    Under our form of government that is not legitimate but legitimacy takes a backseat to government coercion when they control the police and the court system…and they do.

  • Do something about it Anchorage. You just sit there griping, so remove these people.

  • They are addicted to “control” of others.

  • This notion of spreading out the Homeless is similar to the “Bussing” mandates back in the 1960’s. Worse still it means enlarging the Homeless base which is sure to lead to growth of the problem. Very bad policy, unless you want to enlarge an underclass that you can exploit during political season.

  • The assembly has become a criminal enterprise attempting to funnel money into special interest non profit groups. This can all be reversed when they come up for election in 2022.

  • Meg has this all wrong, you do not license or impede those who are in the business of actually helping Homeless people, this makes no sense whatsoever if you truly care about the Homeless and especially so if the organization receives zero public funding. If you are concerned about Homeless folks and their well being you would be grateful that they were served by someone, anyone. However Meg and her twisted group merely want to punish their political enemies here by requiring a license that limits the right of a charitable organization to set basic rules about how they dispense their alms. That much is obvious.

  • We Voting, Taxpaying, Citizens who live in Midtown, are already inundated with homeless and all their associated crimes……….

  • Democrats care not about improving the lives of people who are homeless, they care about jobs for Democrats. One large facilty requires fewer employees, so they are biased against that. Plus they are opposed to Bronson, so they will make it difficult for his plan to succeed.

  • Can incoming Mayor Bronson veto this egregious action by the Liberal left wing idiots on the Assembly?

  • They are already building a homeless area on 36th and Spenard behind built.
    No consulting local residents.
    This assembly is the syphilis of the neighborhood’s.

  • “Only Chugiak/Eagle River Assemblywomen Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy voted against the ordinances, which passed 8-2.”
    Secede ER and Chugiak, and take your tax money with you. Let Anchorage die on the vine.

  • Wake up people.
    .
    If 2020 demonstrated anything, it was that your representatives are not representing you..
    .
    Vote them out.
    If they are not up for re-election, read the Assembly Agenda, make your voice heard. Attend the meetings, or submit e-mail testimony. And, get your neighbors involved, or at least aware of what this assembly is doing.

  • I’m not an Anchorage resident, but I have noticed a trend here.

    All actions taken by the facist assembly are always the opposite of whatever conservatives testified against. It’s almost as if they are purposely punishing you for going against them.

  • Get more recalls going, to get rid of these Horrible people. Vote them out.
    Anchorage is a cesspool because of these homeless camps.

  • From Wikipedia: “…redlining is the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific…neighborhoods or communities…”. What’s in close proximity to any potential facility in Midtown? Job Service and Loussac Library, both useful for someone wishing to get back on their feet. What’s in close proximity to 3rd and Karluk? The jail, the reentry program, the public assistance office, the clubhouse for people with severe mental disorders, etc. Just in case you don’t get it and I really need to elaborate on where I’m going with this, I was a regular volunteer at Bean’s Cafe and Brother Francis Shelter from January 2019 to March 2020, when those opportunities disappeared as the pandemic unfolded. I encountered quite a few people who desired to return to normal society through work. They were left with the choice of walking an hour each way to access the aforementioned resources, as the operators of Bean’s and BFS made zero effort to bring job resources to those places and made zero effort to offer transportation assistance for anything except medical-related transportation (and that was intended to mitigate the expense of constantly calling ambulances to provide that transportation). I hope you’re not going to talk about “enhance the lifestyles of homeless people at public expense” if your memory doesn’t stretch beyond this particular headline. The Municipality owns the land on which both Bean’s and BFS sit, so that relationship has been in place for a long time. It’s become more acute since the emergency declared by Berkowitz two years ago in response to the Boise case. Meanwhile, there are groups throughout the community who have worked on solving this issue and have had a hard time staying afloat because they have sought neither public funding nor media attention. The silver lining in shelter licensing is the exemption for facilities accommodating up to eight people. Is the community willing to support smaller shelters which are tightly controlled similar to the way AGRM runs their operation?

  • So they’re saying that running homeless shelters is a regular business and is therefore o.k. in business zoning? They are paying their staffs and they are charging the government for the “care” that they provide so maybe they are”businesses”, but this seems like a loophole.

    If only the assembly was not ignoring the bad things that happen near homeless shelters.

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