Anchorage seeks new emergency cold weather shelter locations for the homeless

Published: Oct. 26, 2017 at 7:21 PM AKDT
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The city of Anchorage says

and is actively working to find new locations.

“We’re talking with other nonprofits with buildings that might have space so we’re really reaching beyond where we have in the past,” said Nancy Burke, the city’s Housing and Homeless Services Coordinator.

Unlike last winter, Bean’s Café is not operating as overflow space. It had provided room for 100 people between Dec. 2 and April 30.

“Currently the funds are not available. Our agreement last year with the Municipality and United Way was that it needed to be revenue neutral and at this point in time there is not funding to make that happen,” said Executive Director Lisa Sauder.

Burke says the city is uncertain it has the money Bean’s Café says was needed. Now the city is approaching other housing providers.

“That’s the solution, that’s our top priority and then looking at how many people we have left that we can safely shelter,” said Burke.

Both the Downtown Hope Center and the Brother Francis Shelter say they are at capacity. The Brother Francis Shelter can take 240 people and the Downtown Hope Center says it can take 50 women.

“I’m very encouraged because we’ve been having a lot of meetings, there’s a lot of really knowledgeable people working on this,” said Sherrie Laurie, Executive Director of the Downtown Hope Center.

Outside of the shelter, a man who says he’s been homeless for the past 5 years showed a Channel Two News Photojournalist several bandaged toes. The man, who said his name is Ty, was treated for frostbite three days ago after sleeping outside.

“A lot more death and a lot more of this is going to go on," said Ty. "So you have to ask yourself out there, 'Why can’t we come up with 150 beds or for Bean’s Café to have their winter program?'"

Burke says a solution to the need for more emergency cold weather shelter space is coming in the near term.