Bronson administration OK with most of Assembly’s emergency shelter plan
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration said late Thursday that it will go ahead with the Anchorage Assembly’s emergency plan for sheltering homeless residents that includes providing space for up to 150 people at the Sullivan Arena.
In an email from the administration’s communications director, Corey Allen Young said those currently at Centennial Campground who wish to be provided transportation to Sullivan Arena will receive it on Saturday, the new date for the campground to shut down.
The mayor has also indicated that he agrees to add additional beds to existing shelters, including Brother Francis, Covenant House and a new building being purchased by Bean’s Café.
But one component of the plan was still in question on Thursday — whether or not the Golden Lion Hotel will be used to provide housing for up to 120 people.
Young said that portion of the plan was still being reviewed by the Municipal Attorney’s office.
Earlier in the day, Bronson addressed the homelessness issue during his State of the City speech before the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. He acknowledged being criticized about his decision to use Centennial Campground, where people using the Sullivan were moved following its closure at the end of June.
At the time, Bronson said that federal funding to keep the shelter going was coming to an end, and that there was great concern that a wildfire might start in an unauthorized homeless camp.
“There’s no good options. I’m just here to tell you, there’s not one good option when it comes to homeless,” Bronson said. “There are just least-worst options, and we found the least-worst, which was a campground.”
Bronson said he believed the campground was well-managed, though campers at the park have decried the lack of security at night. He also reiterated his support for a navigation center in East Anchorage that the Assembly has not yet decided to fund.
Going forward, Bronson said he plans to ask the legislature to authorize a yearly funding stream to help offset the costs of homelessness in Anchorage.
“We have to do that,” he said. “If we are going to be the homeless center of the state, this becomes a statewide problem. This becomes the legislature’s problem or challenge to fund it for us.”
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