How much to solve homelessness? - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, November 28, 2021
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How much to solve homelessness?

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Anchorage Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel wants to spend about $2.4 million for a new round-the-clock homeless shelter for about 150 in Midtown.

The money would come from $250,000 in existing Anchorage Health Department funds and a budget cut of less than 1 percent across all city departments except for “depreciation, debt service, the Anchorage Police Department and the Anchorage Fire Department,” her proposal says.

The proposed shelter would be separate from the Brother Francis Shelter, also with a capacity of up to 150 people. Which lucky neighborhood would get the honor of hosting the new shelter is unspecified.

That brings up questions. With the homeless population in Anchorage on the rise and with spending on the homeless also climbing, you have to wonder: How much money will be enough – $2 million, $20 million, $60 million? Where will it end? To an average citizen it appears that the more we spend, the more homelessness we get.

Too many, the city’s homelessness funding is looking a lot like education spending. When the education industry is asked how much it needs to fix its problems, the answer is always and emphatically “more.”

It appears those who see more and more funding as the answer to the city’s homelessness problem have learned well.

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Latest comments

  • A simple lesson in “leftness”. Won’t stop there.

  • Buy ’em all one way tickets to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

  • Sounds like a plan as long as it is paid for locally and not through State revenues.

  • Meanwhile the other 297,000 of us get…….. ? 36th from New Seward to Providence , 4 lanes of ice chunks and glare ice. Not much traffic, just UAA students, emergency vehicles and people going to visit their sick relatives and friends. Why would you want to plow and sand that insignificant arterial? It would be interesting to see what the street looks like in front of the Mayor’s house. All we hear about is HOMELESS. What about the RESTUVUS?

    • Open a Soylent green plant and maybe all of this will actually pay for itself. People migrate to Anchorage because there’s no work in the bush for unskilled people and then find themselves in the never-ending downward spiral of homelessness drug abuse illness and eventually death. It’s a sad life for those but they need mental health not just a warm cot.

  • Unless you can provide ‘shelter’ for a homeless person, you cannot force them off public land to include road rights of way, parks, corners, sidewalks, etc. This is the impact of the 9th Circuit Court rulings.

    The MOA has only allowed focus to provide “long term permanent supportive housing” which is very expensive but makes some a lot of money.

    We have proposed an “day shelter” to help get them off the streets, sidewalks, etc. and start them on a path to recovery. This is only a day shelter, but it is “shelter” as defined by the court.

    The Midtown Community Council continues to lead in offering actual, responsible solutions to our homeless problems. If you want to read the report, resolutions, and other actions we have taken and push forward, just ask. [email protected] and I’ll send you copies.

    Even the Secretary of HUD in Wash DC asked for a copy as he struggles with San Francisco, LA, Seattle and other western cities under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit.

    • Thank you, Ric. I was part of a group which met with Meg Zaletel on October 1. She mentioned a day shelter then and I’ve heard nothing other than that. The claim of a “new round-the-clock homeless shelter” which begins this piece is the first such claim I’ve heard. I was at City Hall for the meeting this morning and heard one person offer a solution in line with what I’ve been talking about. If Dunleavy has advocated unloading surplus state property, and the ML&P sale to Chugach is going to create surplus municipal property, surely there is going to be some property somewhere for solution-oriented groups to get their foot in the door. The gentleman specifically mentioned the former National Guard building, across from the Tudor/ Checkmate intersection and part of the cluster of state buildings in between Tudor and MLK, due to it being ridiculously close to ANMC but isolated from lots of negative influences.

  • How about the people leading the charge to spend other peoples’ money, start walking the walk, not just talking the talk, regarding the homeless problem. I’m sure there are enough extra bedrooms and garage/loft apartments in the lefts’ affluent homes to house a great number of ‘homeless’. Time for them to take a share of the burden of ‘housing’ the homeless. I’ll bet remedies aplenty would immediately start appearing if those people would only share, of their own, everything Mr., Mrs., and Ms. citizen is being asked to ‘give’ and give up, to take care of the ‘problem’ of homelessness. Shifting the problem to other peoples’ shoulders is not a solution. The homeless problem is there and being exacerbated by homeless “policy” at the municipal level. The more you accommodate, the more you are expected to.

  • The core conclusion of the article appears to be correct: The more that is spent to support the services provided to the homeless, the more people will become dependent on those services and the demand wil rise. It is like Venezuela where the government began supplying free flour and other necessities. The market and means for supplying those things collapsed as people just wanted free stuff. The government could not meet the demand. Now people are starving.

  • OK, the level of compassion here is overwhelming, as usual. Instead of trying to keep people from freezing to death in the Alaskan winters, what would you all recommend? No one wants to be homeless. Let us hope that those of you who disparage them and are so keen on a “tough love” approach never need to be on the receiving end of your own brutal philosophies.

    Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. Matthew 25.

    • Whidbey,
      I try and understand your compassion but it’s a little lean on fact. Multiple times, studies and actions to ‘fix’ the homeless problem in other locales, have shown that 35-45 % of homeless choose to live that lifestyle. In L.A., they built multiple ‘homeless’ shelters/residences and the aforementioned percentages of ‘homeless’ refused to move into the ‘shelters/residences. They preferred their “on the street” lifestyle. What do you do with them? They still subsist, almost entirely, on panhandling and gov’t handouts. They don’t want anything better. It’s the cop out road they prefer to follow. Would you suggest turning another cheek for them?

  • I am not ok with my money going to yet another over-inflated homeless building. They are homeless because they are choosing that way of life. The ones who want to change do. But there is a sea of them who will never change their ways. They will continue to use things like this to continue their addictions. Anchorage he has turned into Seattle. Imagine that.

  • I’ll reckon that a few teams of motivated young whippersnappers armed with paintball dispensers and air horns could humanely send the vagabonds packing in short order, by golly.

    It wouldn’t even cost the taxpayers one thin dime, if done correctly.

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