Shelters prepare for new clients following closure of Sullivan Arena

Shelters prepare for new clients following closure of Sullivan Arena
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:04 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:12 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Shelters around Anchorage have started to prepare for an increased need for housing services as the Sullivan Arena shelter prepares to close its doors Monday for a majority of its clients.

The shelter, which housed a maximum of 360 clients and provided a warming shelter to the community, will be cutting down its intake by 75% as it moves to host only those with physical disabilities.

Catholic Social Services is working with clients at the Sullivan Arena to provide as much housing as possible through the Brother Francis Shelter and Complex Care. David Rittenberg, the Senior Director of Adult Homeless Services, is part of the team assisting during the transition.

“It’s kind of an all-hands-on-deck approach,” Rittenberg said. “So we have our case management teams down there trying to connect with people, making sure everyone’s on coordinated entry, anyone that is able to get connected to housing that we’re doing that. At complex care, we’re also taking a lot of referrals from the Sullivan Arena and making sure our xomplex care and Brother Francis Shelter, all our beds are filled.”

Catholic Social Services is also providing shuttle service three to four times a day from the Sullivan Arena to the 3rd Avenue Resource and Navigation Center. That service will be expanded to additional locations after May 1, available in areas where clients may need them.

“Some places that might be near camps, or in other places where people are congregated to make sure that we can get those people access to showers and some of those basic need services and then also to be able to bring them back to where they’re staying,” Rittenberg said.

The women’s shelter at Downtown Hope Center is expanding its capacity from 55 to 70 residents starting on May 1. Executive director Sherrie Laurie said women are especially vulnerable on the streets.

“We don’t want any women to be outside at night. It’s very dangerous for a female to be out there. Especially someone that’s traumatized, they can become victims very easy,” Laurie said.

The center is collecting sleeping bags for new clients, trying to transform its patio space into a sleeping porch.

“Outside, we have a covered patio area so we are able to set up benches out there and we have some leftover cots that we used to have. That’s what we need the sleeping bags for, those who are going to be sleeping outside,” Laurie said.

Downtown Hope Center asks that sleeping bag donations be dropped off at their Cordova Street parking lot, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 pm. Donations cannot be accepted between noon to 1:30 p.m.