Sockeye Inn homeless shelter to open Monday

Displaced Sullivan Arena homeless residents may be referred to the Catholic Social Services shelter at the Sockeye Inn
Sockeye Inn homeless shelter to open Monday, displaced Sullivan Arena homeless residents may be referred to the Catholic Social Services shelter at the Sockeye.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 6:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As the Sullivan Arena mass care homeless shelter prepares to close on June 30, a new shelter in town is preparing to open their doors and welcome guests who were previously living at the Sullivan.

Catholic Social Services Executive Director Robin Dempsey said that the shelter at the previous location of the Sockeye Inn will open June 6 and will be operated by Catholic Social Services.

“This is kind of part of the whole facilitative process, the decompression process of Sullivan Arena. So it’s just going to be crucial that these beds are open and available as soon as possible,” Robin Dempsey, the Executive Director for Catholic Social Services, said.

The new shelter located on 303 West Fireweed is set to have 83 open beds to house chronically ill members of the homeless population. The previously hotel rooms are being transformed into private and semi-private rooms. Bedrooms will contain a fridge, television and one to two beds. Dempsey said the shelter is meant to be a temporary solution as guests look for permanent housing.

“This particular facility is really meant to provide them with more intensive resources,” Dempsey said. “It will provide them with case management, really an opportunity to get assessments, to be connected to benefits and resources, really with the intent of helping them become permanently housed.”

Guests will receive three meals a day at the shelter, and also have access to a free, on-site laundry center. The shelter will be catering specifically towards guests who are chronically ill from a referral-based system.

“People will identify folks for us and say like we think that this person is a particular candidate for your facility,” Dempsey said.

Part of the way the shelter is catering toward this demographic is by providing guests with free transportation to medical appointments. Dempsey said that they are expecting a majority of their guests to be part of the elderly demographic.

“We’ve have seen a huge increase in our elderly population for years now and that is often a population that has more chronic and just deeper medical needs,” Dempsey said.

The shelter will start by housing guests at the Brother Francis shelter, whose building will undergo maintenance work. From there, they are hoping that the shelter will be open for full usage by the end of the month for those who qualify.

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