At the Tuesday meeting of the Anchorage Assembly, Mayor Dave Bronson is requesting the Assembly’s approval of expanding the Sullivan Arena cold-weather shelter to house up to 360 individuals over the winter.
So far, the Assembly’s liberal majority has blocked many of his innovative efforts to house people in Anchorage, and the mayor has been forced to reopen the Sullivan Arena to house people over the winter due to the standoff between the Assembly and the mayor.
Anchorage Municipal Code states that emergency homeless shelters can accept no more than 150 clients in a single location without the Assembly’s approval.
- The Sullivan Arena is considered a “low barrier” shelter, which means it takes some of the worst cases of “street people” — people who are very difficult to house in nonprofit shelters that dot the city due to their lifestyles and behavioral issues. According to the mayor, all the other low-barrier facilities are operating at or near capacity and the Health Department director states there is a need to increase the Sullivan Arena to accept the overflow.
Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods are not wild about the idea of bringing even more vagrants to their area, with their associated criminal tendencies, but the plan is for cold-weather housing only, and the expanded shelter would go back to 150 as of March 31, 2023.
The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting can be found at this link.