Anchorage Assembly set to renew contracts for homelessness services

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Contract renewals for the mass care shelter at the Sullivan Arena, as well as other homelessness services throughout the city, are being taken up by the Anchorage Assembly at its meeting this Tuesday. The group is expected to tackle renewing security, medical services and meals for those experiencing homelessness.

All the contracts for these services are set to end on Dec. 31, so the Anchorage Health Department and the Municipality of Anchorage are looking to get approval from the assembly to extend the contracts to March 2022. Assembly Vice-Chair Christopher Constant says this process should be non-controversial.

“We recognize we have a duty to continue funding the mass care services, we have a duty to continue ensuring safety and security, we have a duty to ensuring the continuity of those services,” Constant said.

The price tags for these services include more than $500,000 for security, $652,000 for COVID-19 screening and medical services and $1.2 million in food services for the Sullivan Arena, to name a few, totaling more than $6 million. Constant said this will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Among the providers is Beans Café, which currently operates the meal program at the shelter. CEO Lisa Sauder said Beans Café has been providing meals three time a day, seven days a week and the city is looking to continue a contract with the group into the new year.

“As far as the food services, we were just notified by purchasing this week that they plan to extend it through the end of March,” Sauder said.

And Constant said these services are crucial as the municipality continues its steps toward exiting the mass care system in favor of several smaller shelters around the city, as well as a navigation center.

“Keeping continuity in placement in shelter is absolutely a critical element of the process going forward, as we move towards demobilization of mass shelter,” Constant said. “You know, it’s cold outside, in fact the weather has been uniquely inhospitable (the) last couple of days with ice and rain, and it’s just hard to imagine being homeless and outside in that condition.”

The municipality has repeatedly said it is looking to transition out of mass care by June of 2022.

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