New downtown center helping homeless residents open for business

Third Avenue Navigation Center open for business
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 4:48 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A new center designed to help connect people experiencing homelessness to services is up and running in the former Bean’s Café building in Anchorage.

The 3rd Avenue Resource and Navigation Center opened its doors to clients about three weeks ago, according to director David Rittenberg of Catholic Social Services.

Rittenberg said during that time more than 170 people have visited the center and about half of those are engaging with navigators and starting to connect to services.

“I would say, first and foremost, for housing assistance,” Rittenberg said. “So whether it’s help searching for vacancies, or help filling out applications, those types of things.”

Rittenberg said the center is unique.

“It’s the first of its kind in Anchorage where multiple providers are all under one roof and people are able to access multiple services in one place in a permanent location,” he said.

The center is still ramping up, with providers from two or three organizations available to meet with walk-in clients on an average day. But Rittenberg said he expected that number to grow.

“We have about 30 partners that are interested in coming down,” he said. “Right now, about half of them have been providing services here.”

In addition to meeting with providers, people can also drop by the center to charge their phones or use the computers. There’s even an opportunity to take a shower in a private bathroom which Rittenberg said has been very popular.

“Allowing people to come into their own space to be able to take a shower that is fully accessible in a nice environment has really been something that people are really excited to be able to do,” he said.

The center, located at 1101 East Third Avenue, is currently open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.