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Assembly to consider officially adopting Anchored Home plan

The Anchorage Assembly meets in the Assembly chambers at the Loussac Library on Aug. 27, 2020.
The Anchorage Assembly meets in the Assembly chambers at the Loussac Library on Aug. 27, 2020.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 10:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly will consider formally adopting the Anchored Home Plan as the Municipality’s strategy to address homelessness at their September 15 meeting. The plan has been in place since 2018, and the Municipality has been participating so far, but this would be an official commitment from the city to stick to it moving forward.

Anchored Home was originally developed as a collaboration between members of the homeless services community and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz in 2018.

“[It was] in partnership with the Coalition to End Homelessness, United Way, Rasmussen Foundation, and the local Homelessness Leadership Council,” said Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Jasmine Boyle.

Until now, the Municipality has followed the plan closely, according to Downtown Assembly Member Christopher Constant.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “And so this is in some ways a formality, but I think it’s an important formality to put in writing.”

But for others on the assembly, it’s more than a formality. Assembly Member John Weddleton, representing South Anchorage, while supportive of the plan, said he’s concerned about committing to a document outside of municipality control.

“It’s really written by the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, the various nonprofits, the people who have been really involved with handling the homeless for decades, and, you know, it’s just really risky to do that,” he said.

Adopting Anchored Home wouldn’t put the Municipality on the hook for the whole plan. As it’s currently written, the muni would specifically handle the pillar of public health and safety.

“Our responsibility is to figure out ways to reduce the need for the fire and police department to respond, and instead, to provide targeted responses that meet the need in a less expensive way,” Constant said.

Past emergency services, he added the document would also make the municipality responsible for safely addressing homeless camps.

“Another very important part of the plan is to ensure that our public spaces are safe and secure, that we don’t have permanent encampments building up, that we don’t have bike chop shops going in our public spaces,” Constant said.

The resolution adopting the plan is set to go before the Anchorage Assembly at their next meeting on September 15.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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