New Anchorage Resource Center to provide services for people experiencing homelessness under one roof

New Anchorage Resource Center will provide services for people experiencing homelessness under one roof
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 5:44 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Third Avenue Resource and Navigation Center is being called a first in the state as a place where service providers can meet with people experiencing homelessness for a one-stop experience in providing assistance.

“We have folks who will be providing job skill training, connecting people to employment, connecting people to housing, helping them fill out applications for benefits,” Catholic Social Services Director Robin Dempsey said. “And again, everything will be all here under one roof.”

The Resource Center is located in the building that used to house Bean’s Café, next to the Brother Francis Shelter on Third Avenue. It’s a partnership between the Rasmuson Foundation and Weidner Apartment Homes — who are funding it — and Catholic Social Services, which will run the program.

Some of the service providers who will share the facility include NeighborWorks Alaska, Anchorage Project Access, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, Net2Ladder, and Nine Star Education & Employment Services, according to a release.

Dempsey said in addition to meeting with providers, the Resource Center will offer a place for people to charge their cell phones, use a computer, and even take a shower, but it is not a shelter and will not offer meals.

That’s a relief to some people who live in the neighborhood. Rob Cupples, who owns property near the shelter, said he’s seen a dramatic change in the area since the number of people who could stay at the Brother Francis Shelter was cut during the pandemic.

“Overnight the trash went away, a lot of problems went away,” Cupples said.

Cupples said he supports the services the center will provide, but wants to make sure it doesn’t bring old problems back.

“Now it’s just a matter of how do you actually implement and execute it, and can you do that while still preserving the surrounding area, the neighborhood, the communities, the businesses,” Cupples said. “I think that’s the part that’s where we’ve really got to watch.”

Dempsey said they are sensitive to community concerns and want to be good neighbors. She said the number of people at Brother Francis will remain capped at 120, half of what it was just a few years ago. They plan on holding an open house in the next few weeks for neighbors to see the remodeled center and to answer questions and concerns. The Resource Center is expected to open to clients sometime in late February.