Anchorage Assembly, Bronson work toward new plan after $15M shelter proposal was rejected

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:49 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 12:50 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It has been one week since Mayor Dave Bronson’s $15 million request for a homeless shelter proposal was rejected. Both the Anchorage Assembly and the Bronson administration know they need to figure out something fast to help those experiencing homelessness.

“The issue of homelessness is certainly of critical importance to the Bronson administration,” said Matt Shuckerow, interim communication director for the administration. “It’s important for downtown revitalization. As Dr. Morris put it, it’s also important just in the way that we treat people — our neighbors, our friends, our family — and also the type of community that we are.”

While the assembly didn’t move forward with the Bronson administration’s funding request for a proposed mass shelter in East Anchorage, they have been working to find new options. Assembly Vice Chair Christopher Constant told Alaska’s News Source that the day following the assembly’s unanimous rejection of the funding request, members of the administration and the assembly met and put together a task force to figure out a path forward.

“The Sullivan Arena is a $1 million-plus a month,” Constant said. “It’s just unaffordable, but at this point we don’t have an alternative, so we are seeking alternatives. ... Again, any long-term plan is going to have something in Midtown, it’s going to have probably something at Tudor and Elmore. The short term is, can we find an alternative location for individuals to shelter over winter?”

Constant said they are still working out the plans, but that it could be multiple shelters across town that are temporary for the winter until they can find something more permanent that the mayor’s office and the assembly can agree on.

“The plan we’re working on is to create a unity proposal, a unified vision that both the administration (and) the assembly can support,” he said. “and that can generate broad support in the community.”

Shuckerow said they are eager to come up with a good plan for everyone.

“We recognize that the assembly has a big important role in this process, and that’s why the mayor and his team have been working every day to continue on these conversations,” he said.

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