Task force releases official recommendations for potential emergency homeless shelter locations
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A special Anchorage Assembly meeting on housing and homelessness Sunday resulted in a list of the “tier 1″ recommendations to use as emergency shelters for over 350 homeless residents in the city.
“(It) included the Golden Lion, Dempsey Ice Arena, an extended capacity at Brother Francis (Shelter), Covenant House, and the new Bean’s Cáfe location in Midtown,” assembly member Felix Rivera said.
Many members of the public showed up to voice their opinions on the emergency shelter plan. As expected, the testimony was both for and against different elements of the shelter plan.
“Mistakes have been made, but now it is time to take action to ensure that our vulnerable houseless neighbors have adequate shelter and services as winter approaches,” one resident testified.
Community members — even young people — pleaded for the assembly to seek other options, with particularly strong opposition to two Anchorage ice rinks. The assembly did take the Dempsey-Anderson Ice Arena off of its preference list last week, and replaced it instead with the Sullivan Arena.
“We’ve officially gone too far,” one community member said. “I’m urging the Assembly to seek other options that don’t include asking children to sacrifice.”
“My suggestion would be the Dempsey-Anderson, Ben Boeke or other youth forward facility should never be considered as a pawn of the homeless solution due to lack of this assembly’s plan,” another resident said.
Many attendees testified to what they say are their personal experiences with homeless individuals and their concerns about safety, not only for other members of the public but those who need shelter themselves.
“With winter coming up, it’s simply too cold to be letting people just die on the streets,” a resident said. “To do that would be a failure to the city.”
Mayor Dave Bronson was among those who believed the meeting was productive as the public was able to voice their opinions.
The discourse will continue Monday at 6 p.m. at the assembly chambers in the Loussac Library, where the public is invited to speak again and share thoughts regarding emergency shelter items for action and appropriation.
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