The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday redirected millions of dollars toward sheltering homeless residents during the upcoming winter and to local housing efforts.
Members also unanimously approved a resolution laying initial groundwork for the possible use of a recently vacated city office building. The resolution asks that Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration present details to the Housing and Homelessness Committee on Sept. 20 regarding possible use of the former Solid Waste Services administrative building at its old Central Transfer Station site in Midtown as a congregate shelter, warming area or navigation center.
The funding measure, passed in a 9-2 vote, directed about $4.1 million to the Anchorage Health Department to cover shelter beginning in mid-October. Assembly members Kevin Cross and Scott Myers voted against it. Member Meg Zaletel did not participate in the vote.
The measure comes as the city hurries to prepare for sheltering at least 400 to 450 people who are living outside this summer. Private shelters in the city are largely full. Hundreds of people are living in large encampments and in dozens of smaller camps dotting the city’s green spaces and public lands. City plans so far have focused largely on sheltering people in hotel rooms, though officials have said the city needs at least one congregate shelter.
In a last-minute change Tuesday night, members also directed $1.3 million to the nonprofit Anchorage Housing and Affordable Land Trust to purchase vacant and abandoned properties to renovate and turn into housing for people who have been experiencing homelessness.
Jason Bockenstedt, executive director of the trust, said the housing project is contingent on dollar-for-dollar matching funds. The full $2.6 million would allow the trust to open 30 to 40 units of housing. Those