Town hall held for ‘Clean Slate’ strategy for permanent homeless shelter

The second town hall to discuss the Clean Slate Strategy was held to discuss how to create a permanent low-barrier shelter in Anchorage.
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 9:15 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A town hall was held at the Loussac Library Friday evening to discuss the Clean Slate Strategy, which is meant to create a permanent low-barrier homeless shelter in Anchorage by Nov. 1 of this year.

The main points of discussion at the meetings have been the criteria that should be met for choosing a shelter, what should be done for neighborhood mitigation, and what a well-run shelter looks like, with much of the meeting being dedicated to public comment.

“Security should be at the top of the foremost, especially if this is anywhere near within a two-mile radius of a neighborhood,” Anchorage resident Jason DeLozier said.

While much of the discussion focused on security, there were also others who focused on what could be best for those residing in the shelter.

“Within the space, there has to be a service provider for mental health, a service provider for medical and security elements,” Anchorage resident Melinda Gant said. “Those three have to be within that low barrier shelter.”

Others were focused on giving suggestions as to what locations could work as a permanent shelter.

“My neighbors who go to work in Anchorage keep saying, why not the Northway Mall? Guys, it’s away from the Greenbelt trails. It’s got a massive indoor area. It’s got a massive outdoor area,” Northeast Community Council member Stuart Grenier said.

There was also debate as to whether shelters in the city should be one large central structure for housing, or if there should be several smaller shelters placed around Anchorage.

And, while most of the discussion has centered around creating a shelter and what those shelters will need, there have also been several people who opposed creating a shelter altogether.

“There’s no point in housing, you’re just simply enabling them. So I’m a no on any housing for them at any time,” William Reiner said.

A second town hall was held Saturday at the same location. There will be one more meeting on Monday at 5:30 p.m. to determine what could be best for a permanent shelter in Anchorage.

“August to November is about making that decision, getting the shelter stood up getting the providers on board, and doing our darnedest that come November one, but at least by the end of the year, that they’re that shelter will be stood up, up and running,” Assembly Member Felix Rivera said at the town hall.