The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for mayor and the Anchorage School Board in the April 3 election to answer a series of questions on issues facing the city and the Anchorage School District. We're publishing their responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style.
In this part, candidates for mayor talk about their plan for addressing homelessness.
Occupation: Mayor of Anchorage
Hundreds of homeless people have found housing in Anchorage over the past 3 years, including almost 300 of the most expensive and hardest to serve. Achievements have been made because the city and nonprofits have had a strategic partnership, and aligned resources. Our strategy is based on metrics and evidence-based solutions, such as "Housing First." We identify individuals and connect them with essential services. This targets the root causes of homelessness, accelerates our ability to provide coordinated and impactful referrals, reduces demand for APD and AFD, and helps vulnerable residents regain self-sufficiency and independence.
Occupation: CEO for the Alaska Support Industry Alliance
I plan to work with the existing support services to identify gaps in coverage for those who are unable now, and most likely will never be able to, provide for themselves. I plan to do the same for those individuals who are able to work and live on their own with some assistance to get there. I see a big opportunity for faith-based solutions here. Finally, I plan to develop a no-tolerance policy for those who are breaking the law, attempting to live on private and public property in camps.
Occupation: Union carpenter, handyman and maintenance worker for the municipality of Anchorage
I understand there are many different issues woven into being without a home I'm praying for a warm safe home for every person in Anchorage. Some resources I know of are. The Downtown Hope Center also known as the Downtown Soup Kitchen is more than soup it offers occupational training direction and prayer centered on the good news of Jesus Christ. The Salvation Army is offering free rehabilitation for those wanting to break addiction. Salvation Army is also a good place to shop and the music is nice.
Occupation: Retired accountant
I will help the homeless population living with severe mental illness, drugs addictions and criminal records to move from the streets to temporary contracted homes or government facilities. We will offer immediate access to an affordable and safe environment. Once settled in their temporary living home center facility new participants will be surrounded with customized services such as: mental health treatment, drug recovery, healthcare budgeting, visual and performing arts, job opportunities, and other supports to help them achieve their goals to become useful members of society.
Occupation: Roofing contractor and transportation worker
How can we begin to truly address homelessness in Anchorage? First, within the homeless community encourage a work first approach to success in life. Second, facilitate a sober lifestyle by increasing detox beds, treatment programs, and transitional housing within the city. Finally, encourage and facilitate a return to towns of origin where possible for each homeless individual or family that wishes to return home.
Occupation: Retired businessman, security consultant. Current political and energy activist
Property taxes for Single Family primary dwellings should be for Material costs only; Any taxes used for public employee wages or compensations must come from elsewhere. Public Employee Unions are Socialism/Communism. We need to see a zero dollar based $2 billion itemized BUDGET model for Alaska – Illegal Aliens are illegal- pain payment and banishment from Alaska as an option for non life threatening criminals – leave the Permanent Fund and the Dividend alone; centralize and consolidate all trust funds, accounts payable, receivables and savings entities for auditing and tracking purposes – we cannot afford retirement plans for public employees.
Occupation: Retired/disabled floral delivery worker
I would seek to lease a warehouse-type of building to act as temporary shelter during winter months. Heat it and provide security and cots to get people off the street. The time they could stay would increase to 60 days to offset the 30 day time limit in current facilities. I would also seek to build or restore or buy a more permanent building to house families as well as organize volunteers to help in finding employment and more permanent housing.
Job: Transportation consultant
You're always going to have the poor, even the Bible tells you that. So you're never going to have zero homelessness. The only thing I can suggest there is to try to get businesses more involved in coming up with a solution for homelessness.
Jacob Kern did not respond to the questionnaire.