Assembly approves cold-weather emergency shelter extension funding until May

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The Anchorage Assembly, on a vote of 10-1, decided to approve an extension of cold-weather shelter money for homeless, with the price tag of $2 million more.

Eagle River member Scott Myers was the lone dissenting vote against keeping the former Solid Waste Services building and other shelters open until late spring for the homeless who are hardest to help because of their behavioral issues.

Without the vote, the funds for the indigent, criminal, drug- and alcohol-abusing portion of the homeless population would run out before then, possibly by the end of this month.

With as much snow as Anchorage has accumulated and the time it will take it to melt, the cold weather could last into May.

Mayor Dave Bronson agreed that the shelters must be kept open. He said he had been working with the Assembly on the topic of the periods of deep snow and prolonged cold weather. “As we navigate these challenging weather conditions, I want to voice my strong support for funding the extension of the cold-weather shelter,” he said.

Some 51 people are known to have died in the outdoors in Anchorage in the 2023 calendar year, most of them homeless people with addiction problems. Anchorage temperatures this week are in the low single digits during the day and below zero at night, and by next week, expected to reach -13 at night as the state goes through a cold spell. Those who brave the cold in tents along trails and in greenbelts are experiencing cold-related injuries, such as frostbite.

The $2 million was not all. It was accompanied by a 10-1 vote to ask the Legislature for a $4 million matching appropriation to provide funds to keep the Anchorage shelters operating year-round, not just in cold weather. The Sullivan Arena, which was opened by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, has been returned to use as an event venue

The United Way of Anchorage in 2017 said that each homeless person in Anchorage was then costing the public about $60,000 per year in public services, including temporary shelter, community services, emergency services, and health. From 2020 to 2023, taxpayers Anchorage spent more than $161 million on the estimated 1,760 homeless individuals, more than $91,000 per homeless person, according to figures from last year.

27 COMMENTS

  1. Why is the Assembly so late with decisions that need immediate attention before they happen? Lots of homeless have been walking in the extreme cold late at night and real; early morning hours to keep from freezing in my neighborhood. The argument they get into for years is so stupid. Good information to the assembly for this issue is a big fight when each member on the assembly knows the results of the fight before they get into the conversation of calendar the next meeting months down the road. What a bunch of idiots who are educated and well paid for doing nothing for years, just following some perverted path to the next election in hopes they look good on the way and maybe someone will vote for their incompetence. That is the Anchorage Borough Assembly!!

  2. Sorry, but this statement does not make sense: “With as much snow as Anchorage has accumulated and the time it will take it to melt, the cold weather could last into May.” The amount of snow has nothing to do with temperatures.

  3. A cold weather fentanyl shooting gallery with hooker cribs. Take that 2 mil and give all the bums free meth instead. It seems to keep them warm.

  4. Oh thank God! I was so worried about the bums…..whew, I thought maybe someone forgot that they were our responsibility to feed and shelter. I mean can you imagine if we didn’t have an assembly to extend these services to able bodied adults?!?!?!?
    Psssh, some of them might actually take care of themselves. Can’t have that can we?

  5. Let ’em freeze.

    Why should I, or we, care about people who have given up on life, and don’t even care about themselves? I am not about to stand in the way and force my help on people who live like animals and are determined to commit slow-motion suicide.

      • Tell them to take care of themselves, as miracles are not random.

        You know, the self-responsibility thing.

          • No, I do not think Jesus would ‘lake’ compassion, or even ‘lack’ compassion, as it were.

            Nor do I think any of the rest of us that disagree within this action
            ‘lake’, rather than ‘lack’ compassion.

            Allow me to explain the difference of ‘compassion’ and ‘compliance’, or ‘acquiesces’ to you, Alexander.

            ‘Compassion’, as it were, leads individuals to contribute their own time or financial assistance unto those less fortunate through either individual actions, or through actions supporting various agencies that support the less fortunate.

            ‘Compliance’, or ‘Acquiesces’ unto an agenda supported by through an edict by any Governmental entity, has become a mandate, and not a voluntary action by said individual, but by the command of a standing Governmental body, of which said edict does not take into consideration of the individual charged within the cost of the edict other than that individual shall pay for the edict without any representation as to the individuals monetary involvement whence it is the individuals monetary payment that funds the edict though the individual rebels against said funding.

            Within other wording, through the intention of the edict, the individual pays for the edict from the entity that does not represent the interests of said individual.

            Where is the compassion in that?

      • I am not Jesus, nor pretending to be.

        But I can confidently say that Jesus would certainly not be robbing the taxpayers at gunpoint in order to enable and support self-destructive losers.

        • I don’t think he’d be calling our vulnerable population self-desteuctive losers either. That doesn’t sound like a very Christian thing to say.

      • Jesus never gave charity to those that refused to take care of themselves. Only those that were not capable of, or could not take care of themselves. There is a reason why “God helps those that help themselves.” is a saying.

  6. $91K a year per homeless persons! Now I see why my property tax value increased by $45K. Heck, I just want to know who are the grifters pocketing my hard-earned money…because it’s not the homeless.

    • The grifters are the homeless industrial complex. It is the consultants, the “non-profits” etc…. that show up and whisper into Meg Zalatal’s ear about how they can solve the homeless problem. Mark Begich is a grifter, apparently the only way he can make money in the real estate business is to sell crappy buildings to the City for housing the homeless.
      .
      Want to know the grifters, look at who the assembly is giving grants to, and who they are buying buildings from.

    • Do (/learn?) math.

      Though to be fair, the author could have communicated much more clearly, but maybe thought the ambiguity would be helpful to folks who wanted to be more outraged?

      $91k*1760 homeless=$160.2million
      $160.2m/4years (2020-2023) = $40 million/year
      $40m/1760 homeless = $22.8k per year per homeless individual

      It ain’t rocket science.

  7. It’s of interest that a bunch of cheap cots in an otherwise unused building can cost so much. Despite the assembly taking up such a strong stand on private industry to pay hired help a livable wage, they insist on paying their own workers 14.00 an hour, justifying it with the nonprofit narrative. They do the same at the senior center with the help there and many other places. They then complain that they don’t have enough help. The problem is that they don’t want to share their nonprofit money with the employees who actually do the hard work. And certainly don’t want to do it themselves. There is no shame in these self proclaimed do-gooders while they take our taxpayer funded dollars, and force charity on workers needlessly.

  8. The ASSembly never met a tax payer’s dollar they couldn’t waste. They have grown the homeless industrial complex really well. In fact former mayor Begich is grifting money from the city to remodel his hotel and once it’s fixed up from tax payers money, he’ll refuse the home wreckers. Anchorage voting citizens need lobotomies for keeping these morons on the assembly in power, as our property taxes keep going up for more wasteful spending.

    • Leftists never met a taxpayer dollar they could not waste. This assembly is no different.
      .
      And, the voters are not keeping them on the assembly, mail in voting is keeping them on the assembly, gerrymandering of the districts is helping. If we got rid of vote by mail, the assembly make up would change.

  9. Leftists will stop at nothing to spend every dollar they can (other people’s money…) in order to make themselves look good. They will always place the wants of the homeless before the needs of the taxpayers. For no other reason than to make themselves look good.
    .
    How many miles of roads can we get plowed for $2M?

  10. From KTUU: The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness says that last year 1,760 people were homeless and within that group, 335 were unsheltered, which means someone was living inside makeshift shelters such as pallets or tarp structures or camping in RVs and cars.

    Sorry, I must ask this. What is the difference between ‘homeless’ and ‘unsheltered’?

    If 1,425 of the ‘supposed’ homeless are ‘sheltered’ does that in fact, mean that they are ‘homeless’? Apparently, they have an abode in which to live and rest, so how are they in fact, ‘homeless’?

    Are hotel residents ‘homeless’ if they have a structured location, paid by taxpayers, of course, within which to live, ‘homeless’?

    Are those that do not actually live within, or strive to own a home, ‘homeless’, such as those the reside within apartments that they do not indeed own, or strive to own, but rent?

    I would venture that the ‘actual’ number of ‘homeless’, that is, those that are actually ‘unhoused’, or ‘unsheltered’ is 335 individuals, for whatever reason that is.

    Which leaves me within the following query.

    Why are 19% of the supposed ‘homeless’ population commanding 100% of the Assembly attention and future expenditures as they have already addressed the current 81% already housed?

    Another query.

    When 100% of supposed ‘homeless’ individuals are ‘housed’, which shall never happen, how much kickback shall Meg Zaletel garner within her own private bank account whilst actual ‘homeless’ individuals suffer?

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