Nonprofit pulls plug on low-income housing project in Independence Park

Nonprofit pulls plug on low-income housing project in Independence Park
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A project to put low-income housing in Anchorage’s Independence Park neighborhood has been pulled after the charity behind it said opposition from the neighborhood turned nasty.

Prince Nwankudu, President of Revive Alaska Community Services, said the Comfort Home Project got off to a bad start when neighbors thought a large homeless shelter was going in on the lot owned by the nonprofit. Instead, Nwankudu described the project as a low-income housing complex for veterans and seniors, some of whom might technically be considered homeless.

“We tried to explain to the neighborhood and the residents,” Nwankudu said. “Some of them understood, but many of them banded themselves together to attack us corporately and personally.”

Stephen Manwiller, a longtime Independence Park resident, said most of the concerns were about the project itself and how it would be managed.

Of particular concern was the fact that Revive planned to use older, repurposed military barracks to house people, which Manwiller said was not a good fit for the neighborhood.

“None of us were convinced,” Manwiller said. “The project was ill-conceived, and it wasn’t really appropriate having used military barracks with potentially hundreds of homeless folks coming here into the community.”

Revive disputes the number of residents who would have lived at the site, but Nwankudu said at this point they are ready to move on and look for a new location.

Nwankudu said the organization has purchased 10 fourplexes from the military that are still on base, and need to be moved to a new location, provided the project gets final permitting from the city.