Assembly approves funding for mayor’s navigation center for Anchorage homeless

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A navigation center to help steer Anchorage’s homeless population to the proper resources to meet their individual needs and to provide temporary shelter passed the Assembly after a long and contentious debate that began last summer, upon the swearing in of Mayor Dave Bronson.

The navigation center was part of a negotiation participated in by the Assembly and the Mayor’s Office, and the agreement included purchasing the Sockeye Inn to house medically fragile people, with the navigation center being a centerpiece as a place where homeless people could start their journey back to sobriety, stability, and functionality. The center staff will help them get the proper services.

The other parts of the plan, including purchase of the Sockeye Inn, had already been started when it appeared opposition members of the Assembly were ready to pull the rug out from under the Mayor’s Office on the one piece that he wanted — the navigation center. A bait-and-switch was under way during Tuesday night’s meeting.

In the end, the Assembly approved $6.2 million for constructing the navigation center, after Assemblyman Kameron Perez-Verdia changed his mind at the last minute and voted in favor of it.

Currently, the city is spending over $3 million a month to shelter people in the Sullivan Arena, which was converted to a shelter by the Berkowitz Administration. Taxpayers may be on the hook for the costs, since FEMA is unlikely to pay for it. The restoration of the Sullivan Arena to become a venue for arts, sports, and entertainment will cost the city millions of dollars, as the destruction has been extensive to that facility. It may be years before it can be used for its intended purpose.

From the mayor’s team, Larry Baker made a last-ditch appeal on Tuesday to the Assembly, which was balking at the cost and size of the center. It’s now been whittled down to a 150-bed shelter and navigation center.

Voting against the plan that had been negotiated and agreed to by its own members on the negotiating team were Assembly members Chris Constant, Forrest Dunbar, Pete Petersen, and Austin Quinn Davidson. Constant had been part of the negotiating team that forged the agreement that he ultimately voted against.

The entire plan to address homelessness comes with major commitments from the nonprofit community, including the Rasmuson Foundation.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Shocking. I would have anticipated that the Leftists on the Assembly would scorch the earth to deny the Mayor a win of any kind. The Assembly’s long-standing homeless enablement/subsidy policy is working so well! Besides, the Leftists have their favored entities for which they must, must provide.

  2. Two weeks ago we asked these questions about the navigation center:
    .
    What protects taxpayers from the $6.2M concept morphing into another unaffordable financial abyss like Anchorage School District, for example?
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    What sort of verifiable accounting will be regularly reported so the public can track cost of care per client?
    .
    What will protect vulnerable customers such as women and children from predatory male transients, including males masquerading as females?
    .
    What will prevent on-site drug trafficking, what assures repeat offenders will be turned away?
    .
    How will village authorities who dump their outcasts in Anchorage be held liable for the cost of their care?
    .
    And just to keep up with the times, what prevents the center from becoming a haven for illegal aliens?
    .
    Nobody’s circled back with answers yet.
    .
    We sincerely hope they do.

  3. Figures even when it’s somewhat their idea, they can’t possibly agree with a conservative. Those people are nothing but useless tools.

  4. I say tear down the Sullivan arena and sell the land off for housing developments. Even before the dems turned it into a homeless shelter, it was a horrible venue for music and an inefficient use of space for conventions. Sports is about the only thing it was really suited to (an arena, imagine that), but hasn’t that need been filled by other venues now? Refurbishing it seems like throwing good money after bad.

  5. Thank you to perez-verdia being reasonable. Maybe the switch shows he and his wife are tired hiding their kids shielding their kids precious eyes from seeing the stinky city parts appearing leaving not many places to escape the “homeless problem” if you have kids. just remember ‘the only real change’ the community can give is give jesus. Its the only lasting change lasting longer when money runs dry and a famine is
    experienced.

  6. We have large homeless centers here in Juneau. So far, one murder and several assaults. The council has no plan for future expenses (well one, raise the millage rate on property taxes), and the surrounding areas are becoming increasingly dangerous. We have another very large one under construction (no plan for expenses). Many homeless don’t want to occupy them because there are rules. Oh well, Seattle and Portland can send us some of their fine homeless citizens.

  7. Wooooooooooooohooooooooo. More free stuff for bums! What a major victory…..definitely won’t ruin the east side of town the way it did the areas by Brother Francis or beans cafe or lions park or the library in Mt. View or the loosesack or or cuddy family park or the downtown bus station. What a joke.

  8. Navigation tool……… I hope there’s an “ on ramp” for a few corporations or three.
    Any approval by the children of the assembly tells me their hoping to cash in of a few “non profit”😉being front and center of a windfall of OPM

  9. Once this venue is online, the APD should immediately start enforcing the vagrancy laws on the books and the public consumption laws. There should be a 12 passenger van with two people that have that job. And every tent camp that is found should be destroyed and sent to the dump. If I and the other taxpayers in this town are going to spend millions supporting these people, then we should get a say in how the BS that has been going on is handled.

  10. The more we feed the Homeless Industrial Complex, the more homeless there will be. Much like stray dogs and squirrels, if you stop feeding them, they’ll stop coming around. I’m all for human compassion, but this kind of compassion creates more homeless and traps them in endless cycles of dependency on handouts. There is no shame to being homeless or being drunk bums like there used to be. They don’t care because they know they can go somewhere for their handout – or they can steal what’s yours with no fear of being arrested or being incarcerated. I see the homeless everywhere now. I see who they are. What I want to know is why no one is talking about the obvious: why are not native corporations taking care of their own and leaving it for Anchorage and other cities to take care of? This is the true crime and the true shame.

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