Anchorage Assembly to consider former waste transfer site for homeless navigation center

As winter sets in, Anchorage's homeless have few options


The Sept. 12 meeting of the Anchorage Assembly will again take up consideration of a navigation center for the homeless in Anchorage, a concept that has been advocated for by Mayor Dave Bronson’s since he was elected, but which has been blocked by the hostile Assembly majority that is bent on destroying the mayor and has used the homeless crisis as a weapon.

Assemblyman Randy Sulte says that a navigation center, a place where homeless can be directed toward housing, social services, and health care, could be set up at the former waste transfer site on 56th Ave.

The center would be situated in midtown, the heart of Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel’s district. She runs the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, a nonprofit that pays her well over six figures to oversee the city’s homeless industrial complex. The coalition has proven largely ineffective in addressing homelessness.

Recently, Solid Waste Services opened up a new waste transfer site at 1208 E. 56th Ave, and vacated the one next door at 1140 E. 56th. The vacated site is 448,000 square feet of fenced area, with a sheltered maintenance garage building of about 14,400 square feet and a two-story administration building of about 4,800 square feet, which has offices, bathrooms, showers, a kitchen, and lockers that were once used by waste management workers.

Sulte is asking the Assembly to approve a resolution that asks the mayor to make a good-faith effort to evaluate the site for use as a navigation center.

The mayor’s original plan, approved of and mostly funded by the Assembly, was never built after the Assembly’s hostile majority became incensed that the mayor had gone ahead with site preparation work at the Elmore and Tudor Roads site he had chosen for the navigation center, without final procedural approval. Instead of having the center ready for last winter, the homeless had to go back to the Sullivan Arena, and the project has now been abandoned because of the Assembly’s change of heart.

Even though the materials for the proposed Elmore-Tudor center had been agreed to and mostly paid for by Assembly appropriation, they sit in warehouses in Eagle River and in materials yards in the Lower 48, ever since the hostile majority pulled its support.

Currently, tent and trailer encampments are spread throughout greenbelts and byways of Anchorage, as temperatures drop into the mid-40s at night. The standoff by the hostile Assembly has pushed the homeless crisis into the fall of 2023, giving the mayor few choices for how to keep homeless people safe.

Mayor Bronson has already stated that the Sullivan Arena, now cleaned up and repaired after being used as cold-weather emergency shelter since 2020, will not be used again for that purpose. He wants to return it to an entertainment venue, the purpose for which taxpayers approved when it was built. The destruction of the property by the vagrants and addicts that used it over the past three years was costly to repair.

The Sulte resolution would repurpose a recently vacated public building and property and would ask the mayor to request an appropriation from the Assembly to remodel the site.

Homeless navigation centers are low-barrier emergency shelters that also connect homeless people with services and pathways to permanent housing. The clients for these types of shelters are typically those who are at the bottom of the economic rung, who have severe drug and alcohol problems, mental health issues, and no families willing or able to take them in. Low barrier means that there are few rules or requirements for sobriety, as there are in most shelters.

The Assembly meets at the ground floor of the Loussac Library on 36th Avenue, and meetings begin at 5 pm.


  1. Uhhhhhhh, no. Anchorages homeless are special homeless, we’re not gonna put them in a old garbage dump. Can we buy the Hilton or captain cook instead? That seems more appropriate for our bums. Cripes.
    Don’t feed them, don’t house them….. they’ll leave.

  2. This idea SUCKS! You have restaurants and bars, service businesses, Auto sales lots, office buildings, and restaurants, a huge hardware sales business, an others right next door to the old transfer station, The very LAST thing these businesses need are a bunch of thieving vagrants right out the doors of their businesses. The Elmore Road site made sense due to the location of other services and lack of places next door that could be pillaged by these vagrants, as was evidenced by the sacking of the Auction business next to the brother francis/Beans Cafe fiasco down on third avenue.

  3. This is another attempt by the assembly socialists to move the doped-up and drunk vagrants closer to residences and businesses. We owe these misfits nothing! Yet the assembly does things that makes Anchorage attractive and receptive to all of Alaska’s social misfits. I wonder what the Peanut Farm, Alaska Wildberry and Arctic Roadrunner think about their new neighbors.

    • “We owe these misfits nothing”

      Certainly we owe them the dignity and respect that all humans expect from others. That which comes with life itself? We respect the sanctity of the unborn, the innocence of the child, the dignity, autonomy, and privacy of the young adult, the experience of the elderly, and the memories and honor of those who have passed. All are redeemable. I do not think one should be forced to give that which they have worked for to another, but I think those that do of their own volition should be praised.

      Though hardships and conflict often rises around these “misfits” as trouble often follows misfortune, that does not cheapen their lives as fellow humans any less than our own. It is not the wealth that we own that makes us more human, it is our actions towards others no matter how great or little we have.

      • No, we do not owe them dignity or respect.
        Respect is earned.
        Yes, a total stranger deserves a certain amount of respect, until proven otherwise. However, they will not receive the level of respect I have for my parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc… Not until the earn it.
        Should one be forced to give that which they earned for another? Sorry, that is called taxes. And, I am being forced to give against my will. i am enslaved for weeks/months out of the year because the government say I must pay my fair share. But, when my “fair share” is used toward a purpose that does not benefit me, my labor is equivalent to servitude.
        If you want to expend your efforts, time, and money trying to redeem these individuals, that is great. Do it. I encourage you, and I will praise your efforts. But leave me and everyone that is not you out of it.

        • “Yes, a total stranger deserves a certain amount of respect, until proven otherwise.”

          -That is all that I asked for, nothing more. I did not advocate for more public money being forced for this, only for celebrating those that do give.

          ” that is called taxes. And, I am being forced to give against my will.”

          -No you are not forced to pay taxes. You could live a subsistence lifestyle away from society on your own, forgo owning any land of your own, and not seek to earn money for any service. So you are not a slave in this way. What you mean to say is that you pay taxes to support services you use, and you believe you should not have to pay as much for those services as you are currently paying.

          You do not get to use roads without paying taxes to support them. You do not get to own land without paying taxes that support policing the areas around that land, controlling fires around that land, maintaining regulations that prevent other land owners from infringing on your land with their activities…etc…

          I sincerely hope that if you ever find yourself in bad luck and hardship, that you mean others kinder than yourself, for if the world all thought exactly as you typed out, there is no hope for those individuals to be found.

  4. The more support we provide for the homeless in Anchorage, the more homeless we will create. There is no longer shame in being homeless. Many homeless see their open act of camping on street corners and near the entrances of neighborhoods as sticking their middle fingers into the faces of everyone else in Anchorage. Worse: most of the Anchorage Assembly see the homeless as being more important than the law-abiding, sane, productive citizens of our once fair and proud city. It is with the Anchorage Assembly where the fault lies in turning Anchorage into the Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles open cesspool of the north. When will conservatives finally provide financial support to candidates and show up at the polls to vote for candidates who will toss these vermin out of office. When will we replace them with candidates who will rid Anchorage of this scourge and return us to a community of which we can be proud?

  5. I’m not sure I’d be willing to go back into the Sullivan ever again. Not possible to do a deep enough bio hazard cleanup.

    Who will want to book it, since the threat of having the Politburo take it will always loom in the background?

  6. I think we can rest assured that there will be no solution to this problem. Unless a much more lucrative way of laundering taxpayer money is found. Everyone knows what happens when you provide food and shelter for strays.

  7. The Anchorage Assembly is without a doubt the most worthless group of supposedly intelligent government officials in the country. They, led by Zalatel, Constant and Rivera go out ou their way to obstruct Mayor Bronson. I would love to see a forensic audit of the Covid and Homeless funding programs and see how much those named benefitted.

    • Sorry, you used the word intelligent (true, modified with the adjective supposedly) and Zalatel, Constand, and Rivera in the same comment?

  8. I don’t know. If the city would allow them free and easy access to the new waste transfer site so they can go and get all the “free” items they want — maybe that’s what the homeless want. At least it would save the homeless from having to break into the waste transfer site like they do here in Kenai.

  9. Care to guess how many new Democrat voters will be registered at 1140 E. 56th, Anchorage, AK, 99503,
    …or which division of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness will be running the show?

    • Megs district so she wont be replaced anytime soon.
      She is using a tactic out of Bidens selection scam using tens of millions of illegal aliens as his main voter base.
      Selections have consequences!

    • Because that’s an old, tired talking point which does nothing to address the problem at hand? From what I’ve seen, Henning Inc. has bent over backwards to connect the homeless population with employment. For years, Bean’s Cafe and Catholic Social Services largely avoided any such effort while simultaneously putting their hand out for more government money all the time. Every time there’s a homeless story on MRAK, there’s a slew of comments which appear opposed to the idea of people being able to get back on their feet. What’s the matter, if someone gets back on their feet, are they going to be a threat to your spot?

      • “Every time there’s a homeless story on MRAK, there’s a slew of comments which appear opposed to the idea of people being able to get back on their feet. What’s the matter, if someone gets back on their feet, are they going to be a threat to your spot?”
        Definitely misrepresenting the comments.
        No one here is opposed to getting the homeless back on their feet.
        They are opposed to the Assembly spending their money, destroying their neighborhoods, and pretending they are actually doing something. All the while the homeless situation gets worse and worse.
        Leftists always have no problem spending other people’s money. This is no different.
        If they were to say “put the shelter in my neighborhood, I think I can do more good that way” I might actually agree with your point. Until then, if the Assembly thinks it is a great idea to put the homeless in every neighborhood, they should start with them in theirs.

  10. Is there anything else we can give them?
    The Anchorage Assembly knows that we Taxpaying Citizens want nothing more than give every asset we own to the poor, dis-enfranchised homeless, in hopes of achieving our self-righteous reward.
    So I guess it must be in the City Charter somewhere.
    And after we give everything, what will we then have?
    More of them. It’s like feeding bears.
    Where did this concept come from? That the City had anything to do with taking care of anyone???
    All I know for certain is that there is a hell of a lot of money in it.
    Our money.

  11. I am interested in how the ” Homeless Industrial Complex ” is related to the Anchorage Assembly.
    It appears this is their way of making money as a ” Public Servant ”
    Could be an entirely inside job.

  12. There is a large “empty” lot at 28805 Denaina Elders Road that could be a viable place to erect soft buildings to provide shelter for Anchorage Homeless. The location is away from downtown/midtown Anchorage and would not offer ready/immediate sources of drugs and alcohol. As this site is currently used as a car lot/parking area for police vehicles, there could be protection/patrols 24/7.

  13. My newest coworker said she and her boyfriend found their way into the tiny Downtown Navigational center which navigated them into appropriate resources that taken them out of Cuddy Park. Now I’m training her and praying for her as well as for my employment staff. You know Anchorage employers, coworkers, and trainers need to understand about these kind of people are so GreenHorn to work and keeping a schedule that those whom aren’t so much coming out of an addiction or homelessness Must remain professional, courteous, and demonstrate patience to not add more drama and stress into their lives when work life is stressful enough (meetings schedule, job duties, work time, customer service, and dealing with other coworkers bad days. Like learn to control your own gossip, drama, and learn to improve one’s communication, so it doesn’t add to someone battling more than you greater stress while learning how to work. It made me so happy and hopeful when she said she went to “the downtown navigational center” because its proof in the pudding our Mayor Bronson and his homeless department are pressing forward despite all hindrances.

  14. “… a place where homeless can be directed toward housing, social services, and health care,…” Awesome! And who’s paying for the homeless to enjoy all these benefits? Answer: the rest of us. It’s like when you feed the rabbits because you just can’t bear to see them starve. Your reward? Even more rabbits to feed. A vicious cycle of dependency that only ends one way – with everyone suffering once the burden of supporting your emotional do-gooder instincts overwhelms your ability to pay for it. Through the magic of out of control government we all get to pay for the irrational need some have to support non-productive people. And the population of non-productive drags on society only grows as we make life with your hand out ever more bearable. The kindest thing? Let the rabbits starve until they reach a natural equilibrium and let the homeless suffer as a lesson to all of how NOT to live your life. And, FYI, paying for your bad life choices isn’t anyone’s responsibility but your own.

    • We with more knowledge than Alaska’s homeless need the God-given wisdom (discernment) who we need to help, how to help, and when to help. Like there a young adult man hangs in the Abbott area, he’ll ask people for money, which I think he still struggling under addiction, but when I see him I acknowledge him and remind him about how is his job hunt going looking for another painting job while encouraging him sounds like his calling is painting. He loves painting houses. Under a good employer he makes a good employee to help produce good work. He disheartened right now by working because the last employer who jipped him and didn’t fairly pay him. I tell him not all employers are the same, tellin him you gotta just get out there seek other employers since you need to work being a man and you are young. I tell him when he is ready by living for God, doors will be opening and the young man will be with the right painting employer, cause God always takes care of his own and I know he knows God. I need to start praying for him cause it be nice to not see him again cause he be living for God and he’s too busy painting buildings making money.

  15. Suzanne says: “Sulte is asking the Assembly to approve a resolution that asks the mayor to make a good-faith effort to evaluate the site for use as a navigation center.”

    Problem with Sulte’s resolution is that good faith seems to only go one direction with this assembly. Given the recent bait and switch with the Elmore navigation center where the Mayor fulfilled his end of the bargain followed a week or so later by the Assembly changing their minds and reneging on their end of the bargain, I would be very hesitant to make yet another fruitless deal with an Assembly majority who wouldn’t know a good faith negotiation if it hit them up the side of the head with a 2×4.

    Assembly should fill their end of the previous bargain and then we’ll see what is next. Cheers –

  16. Wait a minute, is this the same Assembly that criticized Bronson’s nav center as “a warehouse to justify abatement of homeless camps” (or something to that effect…I think it was a Brawley comment)?!

    So, a warehouse isn’t good enough, but a waste treatment facility is?

    Is this looking like a good idea to the assembly because the building already belongs to the muni?

    • There’s a really crappy old hotel across from Merrill Field, maybe the city could buy it dump about 80 million into it(pennies really) and let the bums immediately turn it back into a crappy old hotel…..but, and this is a biggie, the assembly passes a bond proposal through a slick media blitz that has the anchorage property tax payer on the hook in perpetuity to maintain the festering hell hole… Maybe it’s too far fetched of an idea……….

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