Dave Bronson: A call for Assembly action on Anchorage’s homeless crisis

51
1655

By MAYOR DAVE BRONSON

The homeless situation in Anchorage affects us all, from the individual homeless walking around our neighborhoods to the encampments that have sprung up around town. Although not all individuals experiencing homelessness engage in problematic behavior, a troubling number do. Disorderly camps, drugs, and alcohol, and unsafe environments are all too common. The reality is, we need to do more.

What is standing in the way? An uncooperative Assembly.

The Anchorage Assembly has voted against every one of my proposals to address homelessness, while at the same time publicly denouncing that I have not proposed any solutions. At a recent special assembly meeting devoted to the topic, all my solutions were voted down, with members asking for more time to consider them and others outright opposing my efforts. The political reality is they are more interested in opposing me than solving the problem. Anchorage residents should expect and deserve their elected officials to work together to provide solutions to problems that affect our city.

Here are a few of the ideas shot down by the assembly: a proposal to spend no more than $240,000 to ship a custom-built, prefabricated Sprung Structure to Anchorage for a navigation center for our homeless. I’ve identified an investor willing to pay to construct the facility and an operator willing to provide services, yet the assembly won’t spend the funds to ship the building here.

I continue to believe the Navigation Center near Elmore and Tudor Roads is the best solution. Assembly Chair Chris Constant opposes the plan, in part, because he believes the Sprung Structure is not an adequate structure to house individuals. These buildings are sufficient for use by the United States Department of Defense and developers on Alaska’s North Slope where some of the harshest and extreme weather conditions in the world exist. Not to mention, any building has to be permitted before it’s occupied.

The next proposal shot down or delayed indefinitely by the assembly would have given the city the ability to clean up homeless camps. It placed new size limits on homeless encampments to twenty-five tents and put distance requirements between homeless encampments and shelters, driving down the ability for access to drugs and alcohol, and limiting predatory behavior.

Another solution I proposed and was supported by downtown business owners is a measure that would prohibit camping in certain parks and carve out the downtown business district as a camping-free zone. A similar law was considered and passed by the Sea-Tac city council in October 2020. Why the liberal Sea-Tac city council can pass an ordinance to protect certain parks and retain their use to the general tax-paying population and tourists, but the Anchorage Assembly cannot – is puzzling. We have an economic hub and a wildly energetic tourism season ahead; why are we not protecting that asset and showcasing Anchorage?

Not only is the inaction by the assembly puzzling, but it’s also dangerous. The New York Times’ bureau chief, Mike Baker, last year wrote an article titled “An ‘Unimaginable Death Toll Among Anchorage’s Homeless Residents.” Shelter gives intervention opportunities and allows for year-round supervision for individuals experiencing homelessness. Our remaining two shelter options, the Alex Hotel, and the Aviator Hotel, where individual rooms are made available to homeless, are closing their doors to the homeless in preparation for the tourism season. This means hundreds of previously sheltered individuals will be without a place to live beginning next month.

As we grapple with how to address homelessness in Anchorage, we have had some successes. We established a cold weather shelter, and it may become a year-round shelter, thanks to a recent $4 million matching grant from the Alaska State Legislature that we are hopeful will remain in the final budget. We know that many deaths occur in summer when homeless individuals are outside and unsupervised. This funding will go a long way to continue to provide a shelter option for our homeless population. There is still so much work to be done, and I ask the community to call upon the Anchorage Assembly to support keeping people off our streets.

Mayor Dave Bronson is chief executive of Anchorage.

51 COMMENTS

    • The homeless campers ruined it for themselves by not keeping tidy camps with appalling disgraceful wholesale littering and down right dirty living compounded with investors buying up residential housing from single homes to apts., condo’s etc. and many foreign investors causing difficulty’s for the cities.

  1. “Assembly action” is what caused this “homeless crisis”. The solution is less “assembly action” and less money. If we disband the Assembly and the nonprofits, within 6 months the vagrant filth would return to the low levels we saw prior to Berkowitz.

      • Jesus wouldn’t enable their depravity and neither should we. It’s government hands outs and the entitlement mentality that enables this problem. I won’t deny anyone food or clothing, but take away their source of funds for drugs and alcohol and they’ll quickly go somewhere else or God willing sober up!

      • To address a problem, the first thing you need to do is to name (or define) it. Everyone calls what is an addiction problem homelessness. They are homeless because they are addicts. They are not addicts because they are homeless, a distinction that seems to escape the Smart Guys on the Assembly. But it at least keeps the regular checks coming into Meg Zalatel’s bank account(s). Cheers –

  2. The public needs to come together as a big crowd, go into the Assembly mtg and fire each and every one of those assembly people that are refusing to work with the mayor.

    • She doesn’t care. She’s got this in the bag because the Soros buy-out ensures her win. Campaigning from her basement like the resident did.

  3. When Assembly members like Meg Zalatel receive direct benefits — cash — for each homeless addict she can find, it is not in her interest to solve the problem. Homeless ™ is a business to her and her fellow Assembly members. Follow the money.

  4. None of the solutions provides a kickback to current or former Assembly members therefore it is unacceptable to the them. God forbid we doing something to help the homeless situation but it takes action from an Assembly that is willing to work with the current administration

  5. The ASSembly is the problem. How many of them are fatten their accounts by the homeless crisis they created? TO THE ASSEMBLY “YOU’RE FIRED!!!”

  6. As more people wake up to the simple fact that proposals by Bronson are shot down because… they are from Bronson, perhaps they will have the “bravery” to vote for assembly members ONLY if they were NOT on the assembly before. It isn’t a partisan issue now. It is a “Will we get anything done?” issue. Only Bronson has offered action if the assembly can “take a chance” and pass anything.
    At worst, if it doesn’t work, THEN they can blame him legitimately instead of lying that he does nothing.

  7. Lowe’s was robbed of the drinks and snacks by the rear entry today again. That store has taken the burnt of this 3rd world mess. Please support Lowes people. The employees are friendly and the store is clean with good stuff.

  8. The assembly has members that relying on a paycheck as long as homeless person remain homeless. Thus your efforts to aid homeless to being independent is not the goal of the Assembly. Homeless are just a paycheck for certain non profits!

  9. You’re spot-on Dave. This assembly has been nothing but obstructionists, not a care or concern in solving these community problems, completely absent from their character is any:
    … Git-R-Done Attitude
    … Can-Do-It Attitude
    … Logic, Reason, Common Sense
    … Honor
    … Duty
    … Honesty
    … Solutions Centric Service
    They simply are pure and shameless bureaucrats, drunk on the narcissistic power – greed – selfishness, with no real and meaningful solutions, which may come to a crashing and violent end soon.
    Fingers Crossed! Keep up the good job Dave.

  10. You, Sir, have been saddled w/ an argumentative sh*theap of an Assembly. Shame, really.

    Hang in there and keep your fingers crossed that at some point they may suck less but I doubt it. Several of them appear to not understand how a checkbook works and a couple of them have clear conflict of interest issues pertaining to income stream vis-a-vis elected influence. I’d be inclined to introduce that person to the MOA attorney next time they attempted to vote on a matter that conflicted. I’d put some teeth in the outcome, too.

    Combative people like Constant accomplish nothing while looking for opportunities to profit.

    Those w/ conflicts of interest attempt to accomplish inappropriate goals at the expense of others.

    Anyone likely to encounter an attenuated income stream if the homeless issue were resolved should not be able to vote on homeless matters.

  11. Sadly homelessness is another vehicle for money, control and power to the left. Not to mention votes. Entitlement in general. Food assistance across the nation, particularly the food bank, has become an industry. When government money is involved it all seems to become political.

  12. If there’s citations for cave-ins and people aren’t well enough to take care of their own business facilities due to being disgruntled or shrugging it off, why add ANY other facility on the map???? Where’s the logic here?

  13. If Suzanne LaFrance as mayor is not scary enough, can you imagine how much our municipality will degenerate when she appoints and the assembly approves Chris Constant as muni manager? And we already know that unemployed Bill Popp is out front for Suzanne so she will give him a job.
    Here is my message to Anchorage voters: Vote for Dave Bronson if you care about Anchorage and our future.

  14. The assembly has no plan to end homelessness. One of their members, Ms Zalatel makes her money from the Anchorage Coalition to end homelessness.

  15. Just send them all to the valley. Apparently we’re taking the “let’s ignore the problem and hope it goes away” approach. While we’re at it, let’s see how many trashed RVs we can get lined up alongside Fireweed. On a more serious note, we need to stop tolerating and enabling this behavior. Compassion and money don’t seem to be solving the problem… shocking, I know.

  16. The Anchorage area and its parks have become so dangerous even the Anchorage School District can no longer ignore or deny it. The Anchorage School District is requiring parents to indemnify ASD as a prerequisite for participation in field trips. For an Orienteering Event, the form is called, “Acknowledgement of Risks, Assumption of Risk and Responsibility, and Release of Reliability.” In part, the form reads, “I understand that participation in Orienteering involves certain risks and dangers inherent with… wooded areas… On behalf of [all theoretical claimants] to the fullest extent permitted by law, agree to forever release, indemnify, and hold the district harmless…”

      • You haven’t heard about the people who have been attacked on the various trails throughout Anchorage, or Angela Harris who was stabbed while she returned books at the Loussac Library? As of 2023 she was struggling to learn to walk again. How about the two women he had beaten in December prior to that attack? There has also been several reports of violence by homeless to other homeless within the camps. If you follow the news at all, you would have heard about attacks by the homeless. They are not just a danger to themselves many of them are a danger to other residents as well.

      • Uhhhhhhh I guess you forgot the poor woman who got knifed at the loussac????? Short term memory problems again ehh Frank?

  17. Id like to see a Bronson campaign commercial getting this message out to voters. Because the ADN sure as heck does not provide these facts and truths. Hence–clueless voters. We cannot afford the damage that will be done to Anchorage should La France prevail.

  18. The assembly is out of control and Chris Constant is the rudest assembly leader I have ever witnessed. I when to a special meeting recently that was planned to vote on homeless issues. He actually said he thought they should wait to vote until his friend was the new Mayor. Our homeless problem would be solved, if Chris could be a leader and work with the Mayor to solve these issues. He is a big baby. The assembly does not want to solve the problem, so they can blame the Mayor for the issues. If we don’t wake up and vote out the members who don’t want to solve the problem we will never get it under control We don’t need more laws and ordinances, we need to enforce the ones we already have.

      • Most Anchorage voters don’t go to assembly meetings. Most meetings are called work sessions so public can’t attend. If Anchorage voters want to continue to have homelessness they should support the radical assembly members. If they want to end homelessness they should support the mayor and add common sense assembly members, so they can get the job done. And not act like arrogant rulers.

  19. After 2 years of sitting in a box the Sprung Structure does not have a building permit because structural calculations that verifies the structure meets building codes has not been submitted. Does not make any sense to spend any more $$$$ until Anchorage knows it can withstand wind, snow and seismic requirements. I recall 30 years ago $2 Million in steel for the FedEx Hangar sat on site for a year before it was discarded because the welds were deficient.

    • And you know this? What if it is indeed structurally sound? Nothing gets built without inspections and that would certainly apply here.

    • I don’t know about the situation with the steel for the FedEx Hangar from 30 years ago but FedEx has recently erected a very large Sprung Structure in the parking lot area of their Anchorage HUB. This structure was constructed quickly and seems to have met the building code requirements. It is quite possible that the standards for these Sprung Structures have improved in the last 30 years.

  20. Hey in one of the “homeless” and I wanted everyone to think back to last summer our camp was the cleanest and there weren’t many problems except a select few. Then winter came and they took away our porta potties and trash cans. Now what do you think people in that situation are going to do. They will do what they have to do to survive. So now your playing with our lives and making claims that are lies. Im so tired of the politicians being in control of our lives. Shame on all of you for assuming and you and Alexis Johnson need to be taken out of office. Walk a mile in our shoes and you will see we are human too and only God can judge me now. See ya on judgment day Mayor and Alexis..

    • You’ll “do have to do to survive”????

      Uhhhhh except get a job right?
      What a joke, go back to your dirty blanket on the side of the road Kyla and you’re welcome for the cell phone you used to post this drivel. We paid for it.

  21. The navigation center concept makes the best sense. Help the homeless find training, mental help, and other direction/guidance they need. Get them off the street and into a positive direction permanently.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.