The city signed onto an amicus brief that includes over a dozen jurisdictions grappling with how to implement homelessness policies within the constraints of a ruling that many say ties local governments’ hands.
Several tents burned, the Anchorage Fire Department said.
City officials also laid out plans to begin clearing the large encampment at Third and Ingra on Oct. 26
At its Tuesday meeting, officials will also see a new proposal to repurpose an old solid waste facility as a navigation center in the city’s homelessness response.
The money will fund a police detail for encampments, bolster the city’s cleanup response, and improve its health safety efforts for homeless residents, including city-provided potable water, toilets and hand-washing stations.
Homeless residents, nearby business owners and service providers say that gun violence, assaults, extortion, theft and drug dealing have proliferated, largely unfettered, in the Third Avenue encampment and surrounding streets.
Leaders asked for the department to review the funding formula that allocates federal dollars for homelessness, and floated a potential task force focused on rural housing costs.
Researchers in Canada found homeless people who received a cash transfer spent it on housing and transportation over “temptation goods” like alcohol or drugs.
Assembly members introduced a separate proposal that would direct $5.9 million to the city’s housing efforts and emergency winter homeless sheltering.
City officials presented Assembly members with an array of possible funding sources, including remaining money earmarked for the project previously, redirecting unspent federal pandemic relief and $2 million in alcohol tax dollars. That list sparked frustration from Assembly members.
City homeless coordinator Alexis Johnson warned Assembly members that the city is facing a “fiscal cliff,” with no money allocated so far for cold-weather homeless shelter.
The arena was last used for events in early 2020, before the pandemic forced a massive shift in Anchorage’s homelessness response.
The mayor’s proposal came under attack as a Band-Aid solution glossing over the tremendous, and still unaddressed, crisis facing Anchorage as a swelling homeless population struggles to survive in a unique and extreme environment compared to other U.S. cities.
The city’s homeless coordinator says the idea promoted by Mayor Dave Bronson should be seen as a supplement to, not a replacement for, winter shelter.
Millions of dollars are being spent to convert hotels into housing in Anchorage, including the Golden Lion, the Guesthouse Inn and Suites and the Barratt Inn. When all are completed and open, the projects will have added more than 350 low-income apartment units to the city’s housing stock.
Twenty-nine people believed to be homeless have died in the city so far in 2023, including six in a four-day period in July.
The Golden Lion was at the heart of city fights over homelessness, pandemic emergency measures and Dave Bronson’s campaign for mayor. Now it will house 80 people.
Mayor Dave Bronson said the Sullivan Arena shelter is likely closed for good: “I am not going to be responsible for people freezing to death on the street.”
A Daily News reporter and photographer followed Monique Crespo on a yearlong journey out of homelessness. In that time, her life changed in ways both triumphant and devastating. Anchorage changed, too.
The Assembly approved a measure that lays out requirements and a process for establishing a pilot project for sanctioned homeless camps.
Anchorage Assembly members raised questions about how the former hotel will be operated as housing for unsheltered individuals, and the process undertaken to get it open.
After years of contention and setbacks, the former hotel is in the final stages of preparation to house around 80 otherwise-unhoused people.
A federal appeals court has declined to reconsider a pivotal case out of Oregon that has major implications on local homelessness policy in the Western U.S., including in Anchorage.
Some of the most powerful conservative judges in the U.S. took aim at the idea that homeless people with nowhere else to go have a right to sleep in public.
Highlighting the significant division among the 9th Circuit active and senior judges, a lawyer representing the city of Grants Pass said the city plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.