Anchorage Assembly passes ordinance to address emergency shelter plan for cold weather

There was only one item on the agenda tonight at the Anchorage Assembly meeting, a resolution to develop an emergency shelter plan.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:11 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There was only one item on the agenda tonight at the Anchorage Assembly meeting, a resolution to develop an emergency shelter plan for cold weather for the homeless population in Anchorage.

The agenda was put forward by Felix Rivera after assembly members say Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration failed to bring their own plan forward to resolve these issues.

Earlier on Wednesday at the Anchorage Committee on Housing and Homelessness meeting, the administration had no senior representatives or spokespeople in attendance in person or over the phone to answer questions on the homelessness issue after the Assembly had requested their participation to attempt to resolve needs of the homeless.

Later, assembly member and committee chair Felix Rivera sent out a press release responding to the administration’s absence and planned to focus on an emergency shelter plan for wintertime.

“Once again, the Assembly will step into the void of leadership on homelessness and assist the Mayor in coming up with a humane and realistic plan to ensure that our neighbors don’t freeze to death on our streets this winter,” Rivera said in the release.

Rivera stated in the release that members of the assembly would put forward a resolution at the special meeting Wednesday evening. Rivera emailed a set of 25 questions to Municipal Manager Amy Demboski about the emergency shelter plan for the coming winter, and Demboski responded with answers to all of the questions.

“The plan is in final stages of development,” Demboski wrote. “We should be able to transmit it to the assembly by end of the month.”

At the special assembly meeting at 5 p.m. no one from the administration attended to discuss the plan. The assembly introduced the ordinance to create a third party task force to develop an emergency shelter plan for the upcoming winter.

The assembly members presented differing on the complex issues they are working to solve in a short timeline. Some of the main issues assembly members had with the item was section 4 of the document, which discussed the location of the shelter.

The item was amended several times by different assembly members, including motions to extend the meeting for further discussion. The last amendment called for an additional line to give the administration the option to participate.

The resolution passed with an 8-2 vote, with only assembly members Jamie Allard and Chris Constant voting against the ordinance.

Assembly members listened to the public with the remaining amount of time left in the meeting, with one person speaking against and one for the ordinance.

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