Mayor’s plan for winter shelter for homeless will require cooperation from an anti-mayor Assembly

37
425

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson last week unveiled the Municipality’s Emergency Cold Weather Sheltering plan for the 2022-23 winter. As required by Anchorage Municipal Code, the administration developed the plan to address emergency sheltering as temperatures drop. The plan includes four main components:

  1. Use up to 20 portable self-contained buildings provided to the Municipality, at no-cost by a community partner, as cold weather shelters. These 900-1000 square foot buildings will be placed at selected site(s) and have the potential to shelter 200-240 individuals.
  2. Develop a program to provide micro-grants to churches, non-profits, and organizations throughout Anchorage who elect to become emergency shelter sites. These micro-grants will be funded by the Municipality.
  3. Provide funding to extend operations at the Aviator Hotel as a non-congregate site through the end of December, with the option to extend through April. 
  4. Use Municipality buildings as emergency shelter sites. The Spenard Recreation Center and Fairview Recreation Center have been selected as MOA emergency shelter sites. Using these buildings is the least preferred option identified by the Municipality. If portable self-contained buildings do not become available through necessary code changes, these sites will be activated from October – April.

The Bronson Administration will need the cooperation of the Anchorage Assembly, whose leftist leadership has a history of blocking everything and anything it can in order to hamstring the mayor. Leftists on the Assembly worked hard, but failed to get Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar elected mayor, and now find many ways to block the person who voters chose to lead the city. The code change needed will allow portable, self-contained buildings to be used as emergency shelters, and that requires Assembly approval.

Bronson said he also needs help from the Assembly to identify funding sources to continue housing the 200 people staying at the Aviator Hotel.

Additionally, with the city-funded Navigation Center expected to come online soon, another 150 beds, with the potential to surge up to 200 beds, will be available this winter. This purpose-built facility will play a key role in connecting individuals to services, treatment, job training, and permanent housing.

The Municipality will place individuals in municipal-owned buildings as a last resort if enough shelter space is not available in the community. The municipality has room for up to 100 women and children at the Spenard Recreation Center, and up to 100 single adults at the Fairview Recreation Center.

The entire Emergency Cold Weather Sheltering Plan can be found at this link. An application process will open soon for the micro-grant program. Churches, agencies, non-profits, and entities seeking to become an emergency shelter this winter can apply and learn more about their potential role in providing shelter at this link.

The Assembly leadership is developing its own competing plan, which signals it is reluctant to work in good faith with the mayor. The Assembly refused to work with the mayor on his plan in 2021, which included a navigation center that the Assembly opposed. The navigation center is a one-stop place for homeless to get many different services, including referrals to drug and alcohol treatment, shelters, jobs, job training, and reuniting with family.

The Mayor’s team will meet with the homelessness committee on Wednesday, but the Assembly does not meet as a decision-making body until Sept. 13. The normal date for temperatures getting into the 30s (39º or less) in Anchorage is Sept. 5. At this point, the nighttime temperatures are still in the high 40s.

37 COMMENTS

    • I let my representatives on the Assembly know that whenever I see a homeless person within one mile of my house, I am going to drive them to their neighborhood. If spreading the homeless all over the city, and ignoring the issues they cause is OK with them, no reason not to let it happen in their neighborhood first.

  1. I don’t think it’s accurate to blame the bad blood between the assembly and the mayor on the assembly. The mayor’s administration has made little effort to work collaboratively with the assembly, and has used a small group of loud and disruptive partisans to flood assembly meetings to try to force the assembly members to bow to the mayor’s wishes. When that didn’t work, he endorsed candidates for the assembly to replace the current assembly members. That failed too, and 3/4 of the assembly, a veto proof majority, are now on bad terms with his administration. He chose to pick fights and be combative, and that strategy failed miserably. In addition, he has made political appointments based on favoritism and cronyism, and not based on merit (I.e. Joe Gerace, Amy Dumbowski, and Niki Tsibaka). The simple fact is that Bronson’s views are not supported by a vast majority of Anchorage residents and his administration is run by persons who are unqualified for their jobs. He will be gone in two years. Maybe at least some progress can be made on dealing with homelessness in his remaining time in office, but only if he wishes up and learns to work with the assembly instead of picking and fighting losing battles.

    • Surely you realize that the universe did not start on July 1, 2021, the day Mayor Bronson was sworn in. It started LONG before that, and the first punches were thrown by the Assembly. Mayor Bronson is well within his rights to assume the Assembly is hostile.
      Perhaps you should get a bit more involved in local politics, and get your news from sources other than the ADN.

      • Not sure how to respond to a rant, but here goes nothing: 1). Yes, you are right that the universe existed before July 1_ 2021. But so what? None of my comments refer to that date, so this seems like a non sequitir. 2). How exactly were the “first punches thrown by the Assembly?” You mean they did things like propose ordinances, hold public hearings, and ask questions about the qualifications of Bronson’s appointees? That’s called “doing their jobs” not throwing punches, 3). I agree that Bronson should assume the assembly will be skeptical of his proposals, but that is because they have been given good cause to distrust him (encouraging hostile “Save Anchorage” folks to pack and disrupt assembly meetings to prevent votes on Covid 19 measures; turning off water fluoridation and then lying about it; trying to turn off the video feed to an Assembly meeting and then denying doing so; ordering security to leave the assembly chamber during a tense public meeting; appointing unqualified people to executive and managerial positions within the city and failing to properly vett them; the disorganized and chaotic administration of the city’s homelessness problem by one of the aforementioned unqualified candidates). My point is simply this: Bronson chose to adopt a confrontational style during his first year in office. That approach largely failed, and created deep rifts between the veto-proof assembly and the mayor. Wise men learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them. Can the mayor learn from his?

        • What rant?
          Before the run off election was even scheduled the sitting assembly members started cutting down Bronson. Do you not remember Constant going to election central when they were counting the votes to “drop off flowers” for the hard workers? Or how the clerk ejected observers that were from the Bronson campaign, but allowed pretty much anything from the Dunbar observers?
          .
          One of the reasons why you leftist abhor Save Anchorage is because it is an organization driven from the bottom up. If Bronson never existed, Save Anchorage would. And, encouraging members of the public to attend Assembly meetings? My GOD! The arrogance of it all. Seriously, to get the public involved… And, perhaps if there were not constant “technical issues” any time someone who disagrees with the Assembly majority chooses to talk, the Save Anchorage folks might not be accuse of “disrupting.”
          .
          Two sides to every story. You seem to only think there is one.

    • “Blame Bronson”: You must have missed the part when Bronson won the election because he was the least compromising conservative. And that is after a lot of shenanigans by the assembly and their overtly very biased clerk. The municipality wasn’t tricked. Bronson was very clear about mask mandates and the lot. He didn’t surprise anybody. Seems like you have blue tinted glasses on that allow you to see clothes on your naked emperors. And you are projecting. The reasons why the assembly has rejected most of the Mayor’s appointees is because they wanted to have their own stay in there. That has been abundantly clear from day one. They wanted to keep their equity officer that wasn’t even in the state, but collecting paychecks. They fought very hard especially on that front. But hey he was “qualified” right?

      The only people that don’t see this assembly as extremely divisive are the ones that think this assembly represents moral absolutes and deserves to have all of the power they grant themselves and go unchecked so they can be “compassionate” tyrants.

      The assembly did lose a seat and those races for assembly were closer than you would like to admit.

      The city voted for the guy that said zero mandates and then what does the assembly do? They propose an ordinance where a neighbor can turn in another neighbor if they have more than three non-residents over on their own private property and aren’t wearing masks. How in the world is that not combative and somehow collaborative? My brother lives in the bay area in California and he didn’t even see something so… much like 1930’s Germany. Then the assembly clutched their pearls as they had to deal with the problems they created and blamed the public. You expect us to so quickly forget that? Get bent “Blame Bronson”. You’re very clearly acting like a blind arrogant fool and wasting your time and causing more damage and divisiveness.

    • It is accurate to blame the Assembly. Just because YOU or THEM have an idea on how things ought to be, doesn’t mean he has to comply with them. The fact is that the Assembly is mad because their heir apparent, Dunbar, didn’t win and rather do what(albeit a slim) a majority of voters have said they would rather do their own thing.

    • Does your comment mean that the majority of Anchorage residents agree with the
      Assembly? Tell that to Captain Forrest.
      Most Anchorage residents would agree with ‘LaFrance’ and partners that say: NIMBY (not in my back yard).
      Protecting many Anchorage voting residents appears to be the mission of the Assembly. Thank heaven for adroit gerrymandering to protect Assembly districts and residences of Assembly members.
      The Midtown A. Members have offered themselves & their community to the homeless cause– at least the case of the 6 figure head of the Homeless Coalition— great way to leverage your point while on your part-time Assembly job.

    • Hahaha! hahaha! Seriously!? Hahaha! Oh gosh. Thats one way keeping residents from grieving or self pitying too long or being plain o lazy.

  2. Assembly will not go for it.
    Even if it was EXACTLY what they wanted to do, they will not approve. Because Bronson is proposing it, in their world, it is a non-starter.

    • Better than your plan of buying more hotels though huh Frank? The city will pick mayor Bronson again because you guys have Nobody, not one person on your side who hasn’t shirked their oath, responsibility or humility in the past two years. You have treated the people of anchorage worse than the bums. The liberal assembly refused to hold a vote to replace pants-down Berkowitz, they shut us out of school, they shut us out of assembly meetings, they shut us out of seeing our loved ones in the hospital, they shut us out of going to movies, bars and restaurants. They threatened us with further restrictions for refusing the experimental vaxx. You truly have no idea how bad the left screwed up. As usual your typing stupid comments on here hoping to get a rise from the readers and as usual you have succeeded in proving how foolish and stupid those of you on the left are. Good job, old top.

    • Frank:
      Do you know of a single service that is not significantly more effective, cheaper, and more adaptable when performed privately instead of by the Government?
      From my experience, the worst way to solve a problem is to get the Government involved. But, perhaps I am not looking in all the places I should.

    • I don’t want it privatized. I want it illegal and I don’t want homeless shelters at all. I want jails, treatment centers, long term mental health facilities and $150/month tiny bombproof dormitories with a 3-6 month limits, work programs/work fares, and strict security that are required for residents. They get to choose. The only thing I want run by the government are the jails and the bottom rung mental health facilities that are only run as a final recourse and not preferable by the occupants or the people running it.

      Everyone should be wanting something better than that bottom rung, especially the homeless, and if YOU want something better, than donate to an organization that you believe in and quit expecting the bureaucratic government to take care of everything so you don’t have to concern yourself. Nothing is perfect. Doing nothing is almost the worst. The worst is enabling it with endless amounts of tax dollars that are treated like monopoly money, with the government directors figuring out ways to show more need so they can get more funding.

      The assembly has had a stab at this for years and years with their mayors. It’s time for somebody else with a different perspective and approach, don’t you think?

  3. Seattle and Portland will be glad to hear of homeless shelter expansions. They’ll be sending the first groups soon. followed by more and more. May want to double those projections.

  4. Why would our liberal assembly cooperate w/ the Mayor?
    They need the “humanitarian crises” to further their socialist dream of a planned Utopia.
    They don’t want it solved …. they want our society to suffer & give in to their leadership.
    Bye bye Anchorage, you had a great run.

  5. As someone who has worked for quite awhile in construction engineering,
    Mayor Bronson has appointed a very sharp, energetic construction manager to organize this project.

    The traits I’ve seen – pragmatic, good at overcoming unexpected hurdles, takes the initiative, and not prone to being caught up in political ideological battles. (In fact, if more agencies were staffed with the non-ideological, public trust in the bureaucracy would be in far better shape than it is.)

    Provided the Assembly doesn’t sabotage the entire effort to score ‘points’, I would expect the project to be completed on time and within budget.

  6. Well put Suzanne. According to your reporting it appears bleak for the homeless this winter. I was surprised when the Mayor’s plan was announced and a member of the Assembly came before the camera and sounded reasonable, but that was day one.

  7. As with Covid. This assembly majority ( by ill-gotten vote process) would rather rack up a body count than allow a grown up show the public what a “ by the people, for the people “ person can actually do for all the people.

    • You haven’t been paying attention. Bronson is just trying to follow through with everything he ran on that got him elected, as he has been doing the entire time. And he is trying to find common ground, especially when it comes to the homeless. But it doesn’t matter. This assembly has proven they will override anything this mayor proposes and they will block anything he tries to do if they can, every step of the way. They will especially block what they think might work because they don’t want him to look good ever. It’s abundantly clear. That is how spiteful this assembly has become while the city and the homeless are treated as cannon fodder. It’s nuts. They will act this way and dupe people like you into thinking “well it takes two to tango” because the ADN and Alaska Public Media has never held them accountable.

      We won’t go anywhere until they get what they want.

  8. Don’t give them a damn thing. There’s plenty of bums camped in the woods at scooter street. Let ‘em pile up like cord wood this winter, nobody cares anymore. It’s not the mayors problem to solve he didn’t create it. The liberals like Frank Lucinda Sophie and Whiff-bey did. Let them figure out a solution and the adults will get back to making anchorage a prosperous business friendly city again instead of the bureaucratic inflated budget hell hole it’s becoming. The democrats are wrecking this city, the bums are a scapegoat.

  9. Speaking of Mayors……How is the Mayor of Kenai’s rep holding up? A couple of months ago he was the best thing since the Dividend…..Now, its all silent on the MRAK front….

    • Bob ‘https://mustreadalaska.com/surprise-kenai-borough-assembly-votes-in-navarre-as-temporary-mayor/
      Instead of trolling MRAK now that ADN shut down their comment board, maybe you should try Reddit. The Anchorage subs are all moderated by flaming liberals. You’ll find a good home there.😉

  10. Adopt the Free travel program.
    Free Air & Stipends to any homeless willing to move to
    warmer sanctuary cities/ incl: SanFrancisco/ Seattle / Oakland/ Sacramento/Los Angeles/ Portland.

  11. The story of the wheat field and the tares planted by an enemy: can’t weed out the tares without harming the wheat.
    That’s our problem with the homeless. No way to weed out the bums without harming the deserving persons. Our bureaucracy has proven time and time again to be able only to turn any issue into a red tape nightmare, afraid of making a controversial decision that they make no decision at all.
    Workfare would be the simplest way to separate “the good, the bad, and the ugly”. I’m wheel chair bound, but I can still work a keyboard. Pay me “a few dollars more” and I would be happy for the work.

    • Interesting point.
      However, my personal experience is that the religious based charities do a pretty decent job of weeding out the tares. Want support, a place to live, etc… get off the drugs/sauce, do some work, learn a skill, etc…
      .
      For some reason the Assembly seems to think this is abhorrent. In fact, they are trying to get the religious charities out of it. Yes, the religious charities turn a lot of people away, but have great success with those they take in. They turn away those that are solely looking for handouts and a free place to stay, without any intention of getting rid of their addiction.
      .
      For some reason, the Assembly seems to think those that have no intention of changing their ways are just as deserving of assistance as those that want to get out of homelessness. They believe this so strongly that they will ignore programs that work, because they do not work for everyone.
      .
      Not only are they letting perfection become the enemy of good, they also realize that perpetuating the problem is a boon to their donors, and it is great campaign ad copy.

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.