Homeless Navigation Center Resolution Approved at Anchorage Assembly

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Debates got a bit heated Tuesday at the regular Anchorage Assembly meeting between assembly members and those in attendance, but by the end of the night the assembly passed an amended resolution for a navigation center for the homeless by 6 votes to 4.

Discussion of a resolution reallocating funds and spending about $6.2 million on a shelter and navigation center to help address homelessness has been contentious in recent weeks. Total appropriations were reduced from $8.2 million to $6.2 million by removing the $2 million in Alaska Community Foundation appropriations.

At the last meeting of the assembly, the size of this shelter was reduced from a capacity of 200 beds to 150 beds. An amendment is also attached to the resolution that requires a commitment from the administration to operate the Golden Lion property as a processing facility as a condition of effective ownership. Some community members present also had mixed feelings about this project.

“I’m sorry, I might be biased against homelessness because I’m not homeless and I pay for it,” said Fairview resident Juli Lindberg. “I think we need to keep them near the tracks and move them to where the Aboriginal hospital was. As we move them through our neighborhoods, they’ll just take over.

Earlier in the meeting, the assembly also passed a resolution supporting the resettlement of displaced Ukrainians in Alaska through the Ukraine Relief program. The assembly will also have a special meeting on Friday to discuss taking action on the mayor’s vetoes to first-quarter budget revisions approved by the assembly.

The agenda included everything from reclaiming funds to solving homelessness to helping Ukrainian refugees.

However, the element that angered was an introductory order designed, according to its author, to hold public officials accountable. Some believe the order is directed against Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson.

The order was presented by the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Christopher Constant. The ordinance contains language and 13 provisions for which a mayor can be removed from office.

In recent months, Constant and other members of the assembly have criticized the mayor, in particular for not following the budget approved by the assembly. The introductory order was passed, so it will move to a future public hearing, but assembly members Jamie Allard and Randy Sulte wanted the article postponed indefinitely, and some of those present agreed.

“I am appalled that you want to overrule the decision of 45,937 Anchorage voters, mine included, and even introduce such an impeachment order for my mayor,” said Sandy, a public witness.

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