Muni completes first-phase in building new substance abuse treatment facility

Published: Nov. 30, 2017 at 7:09 PM AKST
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Adding more resources for alcohol and substance abuse problems, a plan to re-design Anchorage's Clitheroe Center is gaining traction.

With the first of many phases complete, the Anchorage Recovery Campus is closer to becoming a reality.

"The goal is to get you detoxed and then out to treatment as soon as possible," Nancy Burke, homeless and housing coordinator: homeless and supportive housing for the Municipality of Anchorage said.

It's not a done deal yet, but the city would like to build a new treatment facility on 30 acres of muni-owned land near Point Woronzof.

"This was a high priority for me to see this project through knowing what a resource it is for homeless," Burke said.

So far, the pre-development phase is finished,which means the land is good to support the future structure. The plan would require tearing down the current Clitheroe Center building.

"It has many code violations and things that need to be addressed and it's been determined that its not something we can rehab," Burke said.

During an assembly work session Thursday, Burke said the Clitheroe Center is only operating 42 of it's 60 abuse treatment beds, citing funding as a primary reason.

However, Robert DeBerry with the Salvation Army-Alaska said the Clitheroe Center is only a 42 bed facility and it is currently operating at capacity, he added the numbers change weekly.

The Anchorage Recovery Campus would facilitate a minimum of 60 treatment beds but could eventually hold 200 and offer even more services.

"If a person is just needing an outpatient service it could be a part of this recovery campus.When someone transitions back into the community they could get a service from their home. So, when we talk about getting people to housing in the community we always mean that we are attaching the right services that person needs to stabilize, to be able to pay their rent and contribute back to the community," Burke said.

Chair of the Anchorage Assembly, Dick Traini said the site is a solid location for recovery because of its isolation. Water and utility upgrades would also have to be made for the new recovery center.

Burke said some money has been set aside from the state's capital budget for the project. "We have enough money to help get us through that site plan and the operations resources needed for the project," she said, "we have some money that will get us through a portion of the capital project for the first unit that comes out and that's a little under $5 million."

Zoning, design and funding still play a large role in getting the project off the ground, but the city would like to start construction on the new site by April of 2019.