Assembly adds over $12.8 million more for homeless

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The Anchorage Assembly has assigned over $10 million more in public funds to meet the needs of the homeless in Alaska’s largest city. This, in addition to a $2.8 million override of the mayor’s veto of a homeless appropriation the Assembly hopes will be reimbursed by FEMA, but will probably be billed to Anchorage property owners.

The total of $12.8 million means $30,000 will be spent on behalf of every one of the 350 people that the Assembly says are homeless in Anchorage. This, of course, is a fraction of the expenditures, since untold millions are already granted to nonprofit providers in Anchorage that serve the homeless in varying capacities.

For that amount, the Assembly could have simply rented a luxury apartment for each of the homeless persons, and given them a gift card to Walmart for all their food and sundry needs.

Instead, yet more commercial buildings will be taken off the property tax roles and converted into nonprofit use.

The appropriations for sheltering will come from federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money and from the relatively new alcohol tax in Anchorage.

One of the biggest expenditures is $4.2 million from the alcohol tax to remodel rental units that can be used to house the homeless. During the first year of collection of the new 5% alcohol tax, Anchorage raised nearly $14 million.

Another $3.4 million was made as a grant to the First Presbyterian Church in Anchorage to help the church buy the downtown Guest House hotel, which the Assembly wants to be turned into a shelter.

First Presbyterian Church, a downtown entity that is often politically involved with social justice causes, has no relevant experience in the shelter services arena and has not even filled out an application for the grant that it was awarded last night by the Assembly. But under the leadership of Pastor Matt Schultz, it is politically aligned with the leftist Assembly majority.

The price for the Guest House is $7.7 million, and the municipality won’t be assigned a second spot on the mortgage, under the terms of the grant. In addition, the Guesthouse is zoned for hotels, not as a homeless shelter, and it’s uncertain how quickly the hotel can be converted for the use of homeless people, since First Presbyterian is new in the homelessness business. The sideboards on the grant are weak.

The appropriations also included:

  • $500,000 for the United Way to re-grant to another organization to remodel 60 units somewhere in Anchorage. The terms are vague but the program will take 60 units off of the existing rental market, putting further pressure on working class renters and driving up rental prices in Anchorage.
  • $433,000 grant for the Brother Francis shelter, run by Catholic Social Services, to expand its bed capacity from 75 to 120.
  • $350,000 grant to Christian Health Associates for a shelter for families.
  • $1.7 million grant for the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, which has recently refused to help the homeless at the Centennial Campground because its the coalition’s director, Anchorage Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel, does not approve of the campground as a temporary solution. The coalition is a homelessness industrial complex that provides few solutions, has no solid accomplishments, but skims public money and has lots of meetings.
  • $1.2 million for the Anchorage Health Department to re-award via competitive bid to an organization that provides adult emergency shelter. The health department will be required to develop an emergency shelter plan and have it approved by the Assembly.

Already, the Assembly has authorized purchase of other buildings, such as the still-vacant Golden Lion hotel on 36th Ave., which the Bronson Administration has not wanted to use for the drug rehabilitation center that the Ethan Berkowitz Administration had purchased it for, and the Sockeye Inn on C Street, which is being used as a shelter and is completely full of homeless people.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Follow the money trail and you will find much of this goes right into the pockets of Democrats. There will be salaries paid, food services, counseling, medical expenses, all paid to you know who. This is how Democrats get so rich and are able to fly all over world and buy mansions.

  2. This has become nothing more than virtue signaling and enabling on steroids. For the large percentage of homeless who don’t wish to make changes in their lives, the Special Needs 9 have just laid them their golden egg. They’ve removed all incentive for them to take part in any kind of recovery. Like most irresponsible government expenditures, there’s no “End Game” to this. Consider how the ASD justifies construction of massive schools (South $65 million, Goldenview $42 million) with little to no forethought regarding maintenance and repairs. This is what will happen with all of the properties that the SN9 are buying up and, we’ll all pay the fees down the road. Only until those who vote these vegetables into office start feeling the direct pinch, and/or our own voter turnout increases, we’re screwed.

  3. The Anchorage Assembly is going to solve the homeless issue by doing EXACTLY what Seattle, San Fran, LA, Portland, and any number of other cities tried and failed at. Every city that took the spend more approach has ended up with worse homeless problems, and the taxpayers have to shoulder the financial and quality of life consequences.
    .
    How about we elect an assembly that puts the needs of the taxpayers before the wants of the homeless?

  4. IS it time to move out of this city…of lawlessness before we have a massive increase of bankrupt home owners, Businesses and squalor?

    • I saw Berky and Dunbar coming and bailed for the sanity (yes, sanity) of Juneau.

      Have never, ever looked back.

  5. All of that for the homeless and we taxpayers are flirting the bills, while agonizing over inflation, high cost of living, facing personal bankruptcy, seeing our kids get groomed by homosexuals, and being challenged by election fraud. Vote out
    ALL Democrats and we will see our lives get better immediately.

  6. “…….For that amount, the Assembly could have simply rented a luxury apartment for each of the homeless persons………”
    If you could find landlords willing to take high risk tenants in their rentals. Is it legal now for government to force assignment of somebody’s private property to other individuals……..IOW, communism? Are we there yet?

  7. So “certifications” mean something, sometimes? I thought it was largely ceremonial now. Oh well what do peasants know, right?

  8. Noticeably absent from this list of largess is the Salvation Army. I guess making ACEH and Meg Zaletel look bad has its price. Again the taxpayer looses, especially young families looking for housing they can afford.
    It is more and more apparent that the assembly uses taxpayer funds to alleviate their feelings of “perceived guilt in search for social justice” by heaping disproportionate amounts of funds on the very small group of individuals. In essence they punish the Anchorage taxpayers for not caring to level the assembly deems appropriate.

  9. And the end game is what? Free housing for the rest of their lives and no rules such as must attend classes on how to get work. Or no drinking or drugs? Ged classes etc or just free rent with no incentives to get off the dole?

  10. This is great analysis and superb writing. You won’t find the Alaskabeacon writers, the Anchorage Daily News, etc. telling us the common sense arithmetic. They paint issues like this with an opacity that wants to make we who work and pay taxes feel guilty. We who strived are supposed to feel guilty even if we worked hard while the homeless dropped out and used drugs. In a story like this what could be more important than the outrageous cost per indigent recipient? What better illustrates why taxpayers are so fed up? Don’t sit up at night waiting for this analysis or anything like it to come from Alaska Public Broadcasting. Instead, expect to hear from other Alaska media that the important homeless parameters are equality, racial disparities, and the like. If more news outlets, more elected officials and more bureaucrats revealed to us that they are even aware of this analysis we might actually see solutions instead of haranguing and hand-wringing. There is an entire bureaucracy, and industry really, built and growing on this homeless issue no matter the cost to taxpayers; lobbyists in Juneau, etc.

  11. “The total of $12.8 million means $30,000 will be spent on behalf of every one of the 350 people that the Assembly says are homeless in Anchorage.”
    I live on $1,500 per month. The PFD and Native corp divs barely pull me out of the hole each year. Recently I had to refinance my car, just to skip a couple payments: to catch up on $1,750 in back rent from my recent 3 mo hospital stay.
    Sure could use $30,000.

      • Biden made sure that there wasn’t anything available for reducing a cytokine storm. Apparently Omicron hit me, causing a cytokine storm in my spine. I was totally paralyzed from the waist down. It’s taken all this time just to be able to use a wheel chair. Still can’t walk. If someone puts my wheel chair in & out of the trunk, I can drive just fine. Passed the real ID tests. My doctor says that it’s a good thing that I can drive: it makes me more active, which should speed up my recovery.
        Thanks for the encouraging words.

  12. A surfeit of funds for the creme-de-la-creme of the homeless? All making $30,000 per year? You/we may have overpaid. There aren’t thot many creme-de-la-creme homeless in Anchorage. Hope we aren’t short changing the more copious other tiers of homeless. What a gaffe. Help me out here.

  13. Appears to me this group of nine who were elected to serve We the People are doing the opposite. Doesn’t it make you wonder how much under the table money will go into their pockets, I do. And guess what? we will still have the Homeless problem because some people love being homeless. In this Assembly the 9 couldn’t solve a problem if it slapped them in the face. Just saying.

  14. I LOVE suzanne’s description of the ACEH ! if you havent read it go back ! If you were not able to atttend the assembly last night, you have GOT to hear my friends final story at the very end, go to muni, click assembly, click watch utube and then 7/26/22 …. at the very end ……………Her story of being in India and her wonder dog ! priceless, what a sweet lady ! dont miss it

  15. How are some of you just coming to the conclusion that you have to get out of anchorage? You probably still have your kids in government schools

  16. Maybe pastor Schultz is getting a new job outside of clergy. Since being lead pastor he has struggled to increase the congregation. I say that with no malice- My heart is heavy about that old church’s dismal decline. Actually, if he leave to become homeless executive director for guesthouse, then God heard part 1 of 3 prayer requests regarding that church. Cause running a church is fulltime job and so is running a homeless shelter, can’t do both.

  17. Pretty soon, I’ll be homeless too, after I can no longer to pay my property taxes and they kick me out of my house.

  18. The picture… is the new bum shelter?
    .
    Not bad.
    .
    And here we were, thinking the whole thing was just another lousy rotten Assembly scam to take more commercial buildings off the property tax rolls, give them to nonprofits to be converted into flophouses
    .
    …so bums by the thousands (why not thousands, who’s counting?) could have a street address and be registered to vote and have helpful volunteers help fill out mail-in ballots for the bums, make proper ranked choice voting choices for the bums, and mail in the bums’ ballots.
    .
    Brilliant in its simplicity. A mere 12.8M, pretty much guarantees a margin of “votes” to make every city election turns out the way Anchorage’s ruling class wants.
    .
    Best of all, the scam can’t be stopped, plus other people’ll have to pay for it or face losing their stuff.
    .
    Things’ll get interesting if Eaglexit happens and a bunch of “other people” leave.
    .
    Things’ll get really interesting when a 1980’s style real-estate market crash happens, a bigger bunch of “other people” leave, and the ones left behind figure out they don’t have enough money to pay for bum housing, a bloated school district, and crooked elections.
    .
    Recipe for rebellion, no?

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