Third Street Resource and Navigation Center readies for opening next week

A Navigation and resource center is getting set to open in downtown Anchorage.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 5:45 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A dedication ceremony was held Wednesday for the new navigation center that will open Feb. 21 on Third Avenue in Anchorage, next to the Brother Francis Shelter. The gathering included officials, business leaders and representatives of non-profits.

In attendance was Alex McKay of the Rasmuson Foundation, one of the primary funders.

“The issues of our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness is number one on all of our minds,” McKay said. “We just don’t always have the same solution or the same way to get there, but this represents something we all really have agreed on.”

Funded by a public-private partnership, the center has room for people from dozens of agencies who can connect walk-in clients with the services they need.

Director of Catholic Social Services Robin Dempsey said it will be a very different use for the building which used to be home to Bean’s Café.

“It is not a day shelter, it is not a place for people to come and have meals,” Dempsey said. “I mean, this really is a place where people will come for services. So when they come through the door, we want to make sure they’re connecting to a provider or utilizing a resource, but it’s not a place for people just to come and spend time during the day.”

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, who also spoke at the dedication, said he supports the project.

“The navigation function simply has to happen,” Bronson said. “It’s that first point of contact that people who are houseless need to start getting the services and turning their life around.”

But while the mayor said the new navigation center is good, he also said it’s not enough. Bronson said he’ll continue to push for a large-scale, year-round shelter that has a navigation component.