Hundred's of people experiencing homelessness have been living inside the Sullivan Arena for more than a year since the start of the pandemic. Reports of poor conditions have emerged from the shelter, while the city administration says calls to 911 have gone down under the new contractor.
The overall proposed plans seem to have boiled down to two imperative questions: What will the municipality do with the mass shelter, for example, the Sullivan Arena, and what’s the long-term plan to combat homelessness.
The hope is that the project will improve conditions and facilities in the area, including addressing safety issues and cleanliness, as well as adding to the limited services that are available during daytime hours.
December 21st is a day used to remember those in the homeless community that lost their lives this year. In 2020 however, it's also being used as a time to look forward and the pending challenges as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
As temperatures drop, more people are seeking shelter, leading to what Anchorage’s homeless coordinator Nancy Burke called a “challenging position” for the city. On some nights, there wasn’t enough space at the emergency shelter inside the Sullivan Arena, which is the only shelter currently open for referrals. People had to be added to a waitlist or turned away.