Double-cross: Navigation Center for homeless was approved by Assembly long ago, but now Leftist majority won’t pay the bill

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The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night showed it was dealing in bad faith all along with the Bronson Administration regarding the homeless plan that it was negotiating for a year.

In August of 2021, the Assembly and Mayor Bronson appointed their top negotiators to be part of a mediated process to develop a plan, which was approved. The sides were far apart, with the leftist Assembly wanting to proceed with former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ plan, and Mayor Dave Bronson forging a new direction, as tackling homelessness was one of the issues he ran on.

Retired Admiral Tom Barrett was the mediator. That hammered-out plan included a navigation center that was important to Bronson, and some other things that were important to the Leftist Assembly majority. The navigation center was the hub of the agreement, however, as it would reach some of the most hard-to-help people in Anchorage, those who don’t work out in traditional congregate shelters and who need a lot of services.

Navigation centers are buildings that are transition centers for homeless and provide a number of services, including referrals to drug and alcohol treatment. Navigation centers are “low-barrier, service-enriched shelter targeting high-needs adults experiencing homelessness who are living in encampments, and who have acute behavioral health issues that may prevent them from staying in regular congregate shelters,” according to a description of a similar center in Seattle. The location for the navigation center in Anchorage is near the Elmore and Tudor Road intersection.

The Assembly had even appropriated a $9 million start for the project to get it under way.

But on Tuesday night, the Assembly reneged on the plan that its negotiation team had approved, saying it would not approve a payment to Roger Hickel Contracting, which has already started work on the site, including the pouring of some of the footings that will support a steel structure that will be covered with industrial-level building fabric.

The Assembly on Tuesday decided to delay the decision on the payment to late October, forcing the project to be put on hold and driving up the costs. Concrete cannot be poured below freezing without a tent, and by delaying the project, the Assembly has increased the expected construction cost by as much as 30%.

The truth is, the Assembly majority never intended to let that part of the negotiated plan go forward.

But the contract was in place and work has proceeded on schedule — a schedule provided to the Assembly in May.

Roger Hickel Construction will not get stiffed on the bill. However, Hickel may have to send a demand letter or even sue the city for the money to get paid for the work done. And Hickel may not wish to continue on the project, if payment is going to be held up by the Assembly time and again.

Hickel Construction was also given $2.0 million for the building itself, which is currently under construction out of state. The steel is ready for shipment on Oct. 8, and with the concrete completely poured and cured by then, and the plan given to the Assembly was that the building would be up and ready by Nov. 23. The groundwork and utilities are already done, and the fixtures have been shipped.

But progress has come to a halt because of Tuesday’s refusal by the Assembly, which gave specious reasons that are unsupported by facts, to approve payment for work completed.

The negotiated agreement was a four-point plan. So far, the Sockeye Inn was purchased and is now housing 83 medically fragile individuals, people who used to hang around the streets in wheelchairs and on walkers. The city and philanthropic partners provided funds to purchase the Guest House (bought by the First Presbyterian LLC), which will house workers who can’t afford housing. The Rasmuson Foundation and other philanthropic partners have matched the Assembly’s $6 million appropriation with $6 million, and $6 million in funds have been transferred to the Alaska Community Foundation, which was to serve as the clearinghouse for the public/nonprofit/private partnership, which included Weidner Apartment Homes.

On Tuesday night, Assemblyman Felix Rivera said that the delay was needed because he wanted to look at alternative sites. He said he didn’t know anything about the schedule. He said the Mayor’s Office has not informed the Assembly of anything.

Observers of the Assembly’s behavior over the past year predicted the Assembly would do this in the end — delay the navigation center to the point where it was not feasible, and then try to impeach the mayor for something unrelated. Over the summer, the Assembly put in place an ordinance that will allow it to remove the mayor at any time, for any reason.

It appears that the Assembly has no intention of allowing the navigation center to proceed this winter or ever. And if it does, the cost of constructing the building will most certainly explode. The Mayor’s Office will now have to figure out what to do with the building that is being constructed and is nearly ready to ship.

42 COMMENTS

  1. All of this posturing, just to make the Elected Mayor look bad. The homeless will suffer, not the assembly.
    The People of Anchorage have no excuse for any of this to have happened!
    Look at the pathetic voter turnout. The Lefties get all of their friends to vote and count on zero involvement from 60 percent of the population.

    • Yeah, why does Bronson do all this posturing around homelessness? It just makes him look bad. And REALLY ignorant about how government works.

  2. How very “responsible” eh Frank? Your problems not with the mayor it’s trying in vain to place blame on him for the wasteful petulant actions of the commie nine. What a joke.

    In the end though, it’s our fault. We don’t vote enough to cast these dilettantes to gutter where they belong.

    • The commie nine, as you called them, that were voted in the same way as the fascist one, as I call Bronson.

      Will of the people.

      • You know the “fascist” term is getting old, especially since you really do NOT know what it means. It is very apparent that anyone, who uses this term cavalierly, has no grounding in history and simply uses it for the imagined “shock value”. Sadly it says a great deal more about the value of your statement, than about the one you are attempting to disparage.

  3. I do not even think drunken sailors could waste money this quickly. And, it is all because the Assembly is having a d…. measuring contest with the Mayor. I cannot see any other reason for this constant bickering.
    .
    And, guess who gets to foot the bill? Yep, the taxpayer.
    .
    Not kidding about this. Every homeless person I see wandering around within a mile of my house is getting a free bottle of booze and a ride to my Assembly rep’s street.

  4. The problem with the Homeless is there is an entire industry making money from them.
    We can only take this battle to that problem, or they will forever be the Parasites they are, contributing nothing at the expense of all those people paying their taxes and working hard.
    This is not about the homeless.
    It’s about the gravy train.

  5. Yes anchorage is getting what it wants. When the cost effect the publics pocket book then they might wake up. I say raise property taxes 50% to pay for the poor homeless. They can’t work.

  6. If there’s anything conservatives are good at, it’s losing. They prefer to complain about liberal tyrants instead of actually winning power.

  7. Ok, as always great reporting, but, my attention was riveted to the photo, to the religious gay agenda ‘stolen rainbow’ flags flying at the seats of Constant, Zaletel, and Dunbar. So, can one fly a Christian flag at their dais seat? Just wondering.

    • ‘The congress will make no law representing the establishment of religion’(first amendment)-probably. Put such signage up and it will be questioned on constitutional grounds. As was correct with the black lives matter signage on the performing arts center being taken down.

      As a raised Catholic Christian, with YEARS of Catholic School-never heard that Christ had anything to say about LGBT concerns myself. So as a voting member giving in a way unto Caesar what is Caesar’s by voting-I simply go by truthful candidates myself.

      Smart politicians know also that most voters are concerned that democracy is being subverted for a Christian state form of government. And when they drive around in trucks with flags and guns they look just like the Taliban-folks we have fought against because they are a religious totalitarian anti-human rights form of government.

      • The leftists have screwed over so many people with their “separation of church and state” extremism.
        An elected official having an article of faith displayed is not, in any reasonable way, a push for the State to establish a religion. No reasonable person would see it that way. Any more than displaying the pride flag is the government pushing you to be gay.
        .
        But, the leftists pushed an absolutely ridiculous narrative that so much as acknowledging that people have faith within a government building or government controlled area is somehow “establishing a religion.”

      • BLM a religion??? What an interesting thought. It could be a cult. “Believe what we preach or we boycott, picket and harass your business, office, home”
        Maureen you clearly know nothing about the history of the establishment clause of the first amendment and your argument is muddled and inconsistent. A christian state form of government??? Huh? Flying an American flag just like the Taliban? What??

  8. It astounds me that these fools keep getting re-elected. Do people truly pay so little attention? Who in the world votes for such childish and vengeful representation? They, the assembly, have zero concern for the problem of homelessness, or only as far as it reflects favorably upon them or gives them more power. The navigation center, a very well thought out Bronson idea, and an effective one at that, would be credited to Bronson. Can’t have that. Can’t have anything that reflect favorably on Bronson, or any conservative for that matter. The current assembly is dominated by gross immaturity, cultishness, and unhealthy passion for control and attention. And yet their constituents appear to be voting for them. Stunning. And we wonder why our nation is in the state it is in.

    • I watched some of the video feed. They are so full of themselves at every moment. It’s very hard to watch. They have turned it into an award assembly too. Guess what the prize is? Having the great honor of getting to flatter the assembly.

      It is truly amazing that ANYBODY votes for these immature ego maniacs that have zero self awareness because they dismiss any criticisms except their own.

  9. I guess! We need too do what is happening at the South boarder of the USA! We will supply transportation and the needs of too certain areas around the needed places!

    I know that isn’t fixing the problem! Well maybe it would?

  10. A solution to the ‘Homeless’ problem.
    First, abolish any and all local or Municipal public funding specifically addressing homelessness through any governmental approved largesse, as those are taxpayer paid services, and that is not what our governments basic tenets are designed to fund, nor any other social construct.
    The government, et. al., should ever and only provide facilities to address those that cannot, under any circumstance, provide for themselves, when all private avenues have been exhausted.
    The ‘homeless’ are not a vacuous congregation, but rather a variance of individuals, each within their own individual circumstances that have led them unto the situation they find themselves in.
    For some, it is because of a lack of mental faculties.
    For some, it is because of an addiction to any variety of substances that they cannot overcome.
    For some, it is because the loss of a job, either through no fault of their own, such as through governmental actions because of COVID, or their employment contingent upon acquiesce unto their employer’s adherence unto governmental actions because of COVID.
    But for many, if not most, it is an individual choice that they have been well rewarded for, to not pay their own way, but to have their own way paid for them, hence the need to remove any and all public funding.
    Homelessness should be addressed and solved by the family, the neighborhood, the church, and the community within a private, rather than a public or governmental setting based upon a taxpayer largesse, and if an individual chooses to be ‘homeless’, without governmental support, the more power unto them, as an individual, as that is their individual right, so long as they are not supported by dollars from the taxpayer, and they adhere unto rules and laws regarding general occupancy and basic hygienic laws and standards within their encampments.
    So.
    Here is mine own ‘solution’ unto the ‘homeless problem’.
    Based solely upon voluntary acquiesce unto said ‘help’ offered and given.
    Unto those of veteran status, of whom we owe much, allowance of residence within our military bases as advisors and mentors, and available unto VA services.
    Unto those of Alaskan Native heritage, residence allowed by the varied Native Associations within the multitude of locations within the State, especially those locations owned by the Southcentral Foundation, that incorporates not only physical space, but has the means to offer healing within a variety of services, targeting mental, substance abuse, and familial health, should they choose to do so.
    Unto those suffering from substance addiction and wanting to change, a location far from temptation, and a long walk from said same would be the old Clithroe Center out near Point Woronzof.
    Temporary shelters for women exist within the AWAIC shelter, McKinnell House, Clare House, and more.
    Temporary shelters for families exist through Catholic Social Services, including McKinnell House as well.
    Unto those seeking mental issues assistance, there is Akeela House, Anchorage Mental Community Health, Alaska Mental Health Consumer Web, and many more choices.
    And then there is the help unto those that are not homeless, but nearly so.
    The food bank, Salvation Army emergency services, St. Francis House, Lutheran Social Services Of Alaska, etc.
    The point here is, obviously, there are many choices for those that voluntarily seek help within their existence as homeless, or nearly so, within their scope to seek, and accept said help, without the local government’s ‘assistance’, which is nothing more than an acquiesce unto chosen slavery unto the governmental ‘dollar’, or doll out, as it were.
    It is not the government that is the solution to homelessness, but rather the purveyor as to the increase of it.
    It is the community that is the solution unto homelessness, through family, neighborhoods, and communities, through private organizations, churches, and private charity.
    We help each other.
    Our local government helps no one, save themselves.

    • Thank you! I could not agree more.
      “The Homeless” are not a solitary unit. These are individuals, who have made decisions in their lives that brought them to this place. It is interesting that in this day and age 5 year old kindergartners are apparently considered mature enough, to decide independently of their parents on their pronoun and what sex they really are. On the other hand homeless adults are viewed by those in power and the media, as helpless children, incapable of doing anything to contribute to the improvement of their circumstances.
      Government funding to non-profits must end. It creates a convenient shortcut to shuffle taxpayer dollars to pet projects and relieves charities of the pesky need to prove to their donors, that their cause is worthy of donations. Then there is the conflict of interest of individuals employed by both entities.
      It is time the city sold all those properties to charities and get out of the homeless landlord business.

  11. The “double-crossing” 9 action probably has a silver lining, a purpose. the homeless can wait. As a community we don’t need to cater to the homeless every whim and need especially when majority wouldn’t have enough if none accrued of ss and medicare by 65. You don’t work, you wait on others.

  12. This article does not present the whole story. The Assembly in April made the money for the navigation center contingent on a firm written commitment and good-faith effort from Bronson to convert the former Golden Lion Hotel into a substance misuse treatment center. Bronson refused to do so, because he is politically indebted to Save Anchorage, which opposes using the Golden Lion for homeless housing. So to say that the assembly reneged on a promise to fund the construction of the navigation center is not true. Funding for the navigation center was expressly contingent on using the Golden Lion. Moreover, the projected cost of the navigation center has mushroomed since April. Assembly members claim the mayors office failed to keep them in the loop about cost overruns, until they needed to return to the assembly for additional funding. This sounds like yet another example of the Mayor trying to bully and muscle the assembly to get his way. He simply fails to understand that he represents a minority of Anchorage residents, and the assembly is not going to succumb to his bully tactics.

    • Or… perhaps Mayor Bronson refuses to commit property that is in the condemnation process by the State Department of Transportation.
      .
      I would be really stupid of this administration to commit something that is going to be destroyed.

      • The possibility that in the future the state might condemn the property does not mean it cannot be used now to house the homeless. The proposed construction project that would result in the properties condemnation is on a list of possible projects that have not been funded. Bronson won’t use the Golden Lion because his political supporters and contributors include NIMBYs who do not want a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. Bronson is more concerned about pissing off his political base than taking care of the homeless. The city already purchased the property and it could easily be opened and used to house homeless individuals,

        • Why would you think anyone cares what you have to say Mr. Blame Bronson? Your name says it all. Did you see the front page of ADN. A huge construction site is in full swing, or was. We might have actually avoided a disaster this winter by having a space ready, but not now and thanks to apologists such as yourself, we never will .

        • You are correct, but why throw money into a facility that you know will be destroyed in the near future?
          That is what politicians that do not care about the taxpayers do. Not what responsible fiscal conservatives do.
          .
          And, because no human being can read minds accurately, your assessment of Mayor Bronson’s motives is meaningless.

    • What minority? The minority that was the majority needed for Bronson to win the election? That minority? The assembly members, many of which have run unopposed, represent the majority despite the fewest amount of voters participating in their election wins? Who’s trying to bully who exactly?

      The Golden Lion won’t meet the needs of a shelter without major construction and it is getting bought out by the state to tear it down. The assembly overpaid for that thing. And treatment centers shouldn’t be run by the government. They can provide grants, but it shouldn’t be a muni run thing unless you think it is ok for government to facilitate AA meetings where they talk about God and things like that.

      Blame the Assembly who is only motivated to gain moral victory points and wants to make sure the government does everything so taxpayers don’t have to concern themselves.

      • Bronson won by a few votes in an election where his base was energized by opposition to pandemic restrictions. His subsequent efforts to recall assembly members and to run candidates against them, failed by wide margins. Polling shows he is not liked by most residents. He will be a one term mayor,

        • Oh polling. Right. That’s real official. It should override the results of an election, right? Because of polls he should just stop trying to be the mayor and stop trying to execute what he said he would do win he won the election.

          I’ll say it again. These assembly members barely won or ran unopposed or virtually unopposed. Verdia barely won and would have lost if Nail would have dropped out. And “you guys” did lose a seat. There is a swing taking place despite what a liberal media poll wants to portray. And regardless, the voter participation in these assembly seats is abysmal compared to the mayor’s position. You are grasping.

          Sorry I am standing in the way of you justifying these guys behaving like despots.

          Please continue to rationalize. I know you will regardless of any reasoning. You have to. Seems like your ego is on the line.

  13. MRAK neglected the agreement included utilizing the Golden Lion. The Sprung Tent is a waste of money, lobbyists bamboozled inept City officials, costs have increased significantly from early estimates. Time to cut bait and use existing empty facilities.

    • Guess you missed the story about the DOT right of way through your golden lion. I am sure that it was in the property disclosure. Guess who got the gold out of that deal. Those people on the assembly are all phony, enriching themselves at our expense while hiding behind their flags.

  14. They could move to downtown. The sidewalks are public space and the liberal Restaurants can feed them. there are shelters everywhere they can camp in. And they would be close to the muni offices when it gets cold out.

    • Mark.
      You are glossing over a fundamental trait of leftists.
      They always expect others to pay for, or work for, the things they want. They will never put in the work, or pay themselves.
      Assembly: “Let’s all help the homeless. Taxpayers, go at it. Oh, and while we are at it, let’s change the zoning laws so that homeless shelters can show up all around town. But, not too close to our houses.”

      • Exactly.

        One may wonder of the socialist nine, would they actually sponsor a homeless individual or family within their own residence?

        Of course not.

        That is for the taxpayer to support within the taxpayer supported locations, whether they like it or not.

        Suzanne, can you find out who holds, or benefits from the Golden Lion Hotel fiasco?

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