Mayor-elect Ethan Berkowitz and members of his transition committee on homelessness mingled with clients at Bean's Cafe during a lunchtime meeting Wednesday. Committee co-chair Hilary Morgan passed a microphone around and invited homeless people to speak.
Landlord incentives to rent to homeless people and making it easier to get identification cards were among the suggestions that came up from Bean's Cafe clients.
Some said they were happy to see Berkowitz. But there was also skepticism and frustration. "It's all for show," said Mary Renwick, 45, who is staying at the Brother Francis shelter. She said she was tired of talk without action.
Hilary Morgan, executive director of the YWCA in Anchorage and co-chair of the homelessness committee, said the goal was to structure the committee so that members heard directly from members of the homeless community before making policy recommendations. She said she understood the skepticism.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," Morgan said. "Obviously, the proof is in the pudding. If this is for show, it'll be clear very soon."