Anchorage homeless plan moves forward with Assembly approval

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It appears the bickering between the Anchorage Assembly and the new mayor has been settled, at least when it comes to the plan to help the homeless.

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday approved giving the Alaska Community Foundation $3.2 million for the purchase of two hotels that would be used to house and rehabilitate homeless people in Anchorage. The plan is part of the reappropriating of $6 million from the General Capital Improvement Project Fund in support of the mayor’s plan to exit the mass care facility now at the Sullivan Arena.

The Sullivan was commandeered by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz during the early days of the Covid pandemic in order to space out men and women at the various shelters around town. Now, the Bronson Administration has to figure out how to legally get out of the arena arrangement. The liberal Assembly bucked him on his plan this summer, which meant the homeless are still stuck on cots in the Sullivan Arena this winter. But the Assembly agreed to negotiate with the mayor, and those negotiations have been finalized after several months.

The to-be-purchased Sockeye Hotel in Spenard would be used for a medical convalescent center to care for up to 120 people, while the Barratt Inn in Spenard would be a workforce housing site for up to 150 people.

Another $2.8 million is to be spent on the design and possible partial manufacture of an homeless shelter and navigation center, where social services would be offered which is to be located in East Anchorage.

The total being given to the Alaska Community Foundation for this solution is $6 million. The foundation and other nonprofits are expected to raise another $6 million.

Details:

Purchase of the Sockeye Hotel for a Medical Convalescence Facility for up to I20 clients . ($2M)

– Services will include personal care assistance to help clients with activities of daily living — toileting, bathing, basic hygiene.

-Assisting clients to become Medicaid eligible for these services or assisted living homes.

– Operational dollars are a combination of FEMA during mass care draw down and then alcohol tax/AHD operating dollars, Medicaid, and philanthropy.

– Property is initially held through agreement with JL Properties.

Barratt Inn

Purchase of the Barrett Hotel for Workforce and Permanent Supportive Housing for up to 120 clients. ($1.2M)

– Partnership with existing providers of permanent supportive housing, which is a program that will pay for client rent and supportive services.

– Workforce micro units funded by Emergency Rental Assistance set aside for shelter to lease. Lease payments will pay for overall property management and light touch case management.

– Workforce micro units also eligible for housing voucher placements.

“After months of negotiations with the Assembly, I am pleased our plan is moving forward to help Anchorage’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Mayor Dave Bronson. “As I’ve said from the beginning, we must confront this problem head on and work to find comprehensive solutions that include housing, services, and treatment options to those experiencing homelessness. The actions taken this week are a positive step forward to providing permanent and appropriate shelter and returning the Sullivan Arena to its intended purpose: hosting sporting events and social gatherings for our community. This was a bipartisan effort, and I am proud of the work that went into this plan.”

The plan agreed upon by the Bronson Administration and the Assembly over months of negotiations:

  • Provides $6 million in funding to execute a city-wide mass care exit strategy
  • Purchase two properties that will serve as medical support and supportive housing centers
  • Direct $2.8 million to design and manufacture a navigation center to handle 200 individuals, with a surge capacity to handle an additional 130 individuals 
  • Partner with local businesses and institutions for further investments to solve homelessness in Anchorage

Anchorage Health Director Joe Gerace said, “I am proud of the dedicated work done by the working group and thank them for finding common ground that allows us to move forward.”

24 COMMENTS

  1. Pity the Assembly doesn’t care for the taxpayers 1/4 as much as they do the tax dollar users.
    Bronson did what he could. But the politburo could do more.

      • Think about what you just said. “The wants of the homeless…” Actually by funding these moves right now, it will save taxpayers money in the near and Ling term future. Think about all the taxpayer money that is going to support the everyday care of people on the street. The only way the city will alleviate the growing homeless population is to make a very generous effort NOW. Thinks it’s a good idea to keep throwing money at programs that haven’t done a thing? I lived in Anchorage for 32 years. There’s always been homeless people. But it’s just recently that I stepped over them on the sidewalk.all day while walking downtown. Because voters elect inept office holders the city and state are in a shambles because of fiscal and societal mismanagement. Schools or prisons? No one wants am income tax or a sales tax, but itvwould be the logical choice. So they will just keep using the PFD to fund government at lower operating levels. Your answer was typical of people in Alaska. Not too smart, but not very nice either.

  2. Better have a big maintenance budget – and a way to fund it. Some of the clients will have no respect for what is being given to them. Charity needs to expect results – otherwise, for too many you are merely enabling the lifestyle of leeches. And for others, this will be a very good thing – so help the ones you can, but have some spine and maybe some teeth for the ones you can’t – and the ones who won’t.

  3. I was wondering about a retirement plan. Looks like becoming a bum might be the way to go. How can you beat free housing and free healthcare?

  4. Another financial windfall for the “non-profits”. Of course we can’t have the churches involved because that would be immoral to an atheist. It’s bizarro world.

  5. Your file photo of the ‘Barretto is now the ‘Alex Hotel’. The old Barrett is across the street and shut down

  6. how is this any different from the berkowitz/assembly plan of 2020?
    New boss same as the old boss waste fraud and abuse

  7. 3.2 million for the purchase of 2 hotels.
    I’m thinking 🚫 not.
    Is the owner making a charitable gift? I think 🚫 not.
    Will there be many millions spent on be these?
    I think so.

  8. I just checked the MOA website for Sockeye inn.
    Value 3.2 million
    Taxes 60k
    60 units.
    Amazing valuation for a building built in 2007.

  9. This may sound callous but, enabling a large percentage of the homeless by providing nice digs like these instills absolutely NO incentive for them to turn their lives around. As has been bandied about on this and other forums, the leftists on the Assembly do things like this to feel good about themselves and virtue signal their every move at the expense of each and every property tax payer in Anchorage.

  10. never work, just use california & seattle as examples of what happens when you give free room, food & drugs to homeless.

    if they don’t work for it, they don’t care!

  11. My wife and I were just talking about the alcohol tax last week. Shouldn’t all is this be getting done already? I bet my daughter’s first grade class could accomplish more than this assembly of misfits.

  12. Recovery center literally next to a bar? Oh well, may as well buy out the Cheechako as well. Disappointed ‘cuz I thought Bronson understood we don’t want this in midtown. ADOPT THE BEGICH PLAN!

  13. Who thinks for a minute this won’t just become forever housing for the irresponsible? Less than 10 percent will become productive citizens and they are the truly unlucky. I am sick of the excuses made for the unaccountable. That just may include some politicians.

  14. WAGERS on how long before major renovations will be required? Better to invest in mandatory drug treatment and mental health detention facilities.

  15. From the sound of things?…I just hope the Sockeye Inn doesn’t become another Karluk Housing..(Housing first, remember??). It does say medical convalescent, but does this say anything about covid recovery?? from this, it reminds me what the Karluk housing became..(By the way what is the Karluk housing doing these days?.) “Housing first Services will include personal care assistance to help clients with activities of daily living – toileting, bathing, basic hygiene. Assisting clients to become Medicaid eligible for these services or assisted living homes.” Will they ALSO train them for some kind of work??even volunteering somewhere is better then nothing. Will they have the requirements of NO ALCOHOL/DRUGS.??

  16. Fancy tents these hotels. Natives have been setting up tents outside Northern towns to drink booze ever since before the gold rush. Not much has changed. Only libs making money off of it all. My Lord!

  17. The city bought the Golden Lion to rehabilitate homeless drunks. Not one homeless person has been treated there. Covid Treatment the sign says and the parking lot is always empty. The city is housing homeless at the Aviator, not sure if the city owns it or not. The people you call “not smart or nice” are compassionate and not the fools you say they are. We know government bureaucracies want to grow and and this is the perfect vehicle for it. Maybe you sir will profit, at the taxpayers expense, from people who can’t take care of themselves. I’ll tell who’s not nice. That’s the power-mad assembly, especially the Sargent at Arms. Rep. Begich put forth a reasonable plan to help deal the homeless quandary. But because it’s reasonable, liberals don’t want anything to do with it. They’d rather call me names.

  18. A former worker at the Sullivan rest home told me that 70%, or more, of the “citizens” there were Alaska natives.. Where are these stats kept and why are they not publicized? Further, he stated that many of them were deemed problems in there villages and were given tickets to Anchorage. Why aren’t the billion dollar native corporations being called upon to contribute/fund the homeless support efforts?
    This should not be the responsibility of Anchorage tax payers!

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