“Homeless in Anchorage”
In the days of Testimony regarding the Anchorage Assembly’s “plan” to solve Homelessness we learned:
1. that, there are many, many superior sites available to perform the functions that the Muni seeks to do, and that some of these sites are already owned by the MUNI or by the MHLTA and would be cheaper or free, and
2. that, the MUNI did not undertake any studies to understand the impacts on neighborhoods near the sites that were chosen, and
3. that, the purchases are likely illegal under the CARES Act guidance, as the MUNI is interpreting legal guidance as “most favorable” to their plan, and
4. that, if deemed Illegal the MUNI will have to pay the money back and the property taxpayers will be on the hook, and
5. that, the MUNIs plan for operations costs for these facilities are as of yet unknown and are likely to cost the taxpayers more in the future, and
6. that the MUNI does not have the right partners at the table, notably absent are the State of Alaska, the VA, the Tribes, and the MHLTA, and
7. that, there are far too many of the “wrong” partners at the table that absorb money meant to resolve homelessness, BUT that essentially are just self-perpetuating, AND that there is not an effort underway to define their roles as part of a larger plan, and
8. that the MUNI “plan” does not have a component to address the neighborhood disruptions caused by crime, homelessness and addiction AND, that the purchase of the 4 properties is likely to add to neighborhood civil/social dysfunction and physical decline, and
9. that, the purchase of the Golden Lion will place a facility next to a school and a wildlife refuge, AND, that the Assembly ignored testimony about how placing the facilities by schools in Juneau led to the school being locked down several times, and eventually shuttered for good, and
10. that, the Assembly was not interested in the techniques used in Juneau that reduced crim form 1000 reports per year to 50 per year, and that there is no public safety component to their “plan”, and
11. that, the Assembly believes that the neighborhood patrols that are currently in use are doing an adequate job, and that their “plan” does not seek to enhance Patrols with lessons learned from Juneau and other jurisdictions, and
12. that, the Assembly will not consider using trespass, and existing misdemeanors or other laws to incent people to move off of public and private lands and into homes and treatment, and
13. that Assembly-persons Dunbar, Zaletal, and Rivera do not believe that any person currently homeless should be incarcerated, EVEN IF that person has committed a crime, and
14. that, Mayor Berkowitz and others will resort to charges of “racism” if you oppose their plans and notice, that different demographic groups (which they collected data on) should be involved in this process and planning for success AND, that Assembly members themselves can engage in overt racist statements , and there will be no repercussions, and
15. that, the narrowly drawn Anchored Home, considers none of the aforementioned public safety, neighborhood character and defense, cost measures, inclusivity of partners, etc, AND, is the plan that the Assembly is backing, and
16. that, property values in the impacted neighborhoods will likely decline, AND the character of the neighborhoods is likely to be diminished, and
17. that, rural – not urban or sub-urban – facilities are the best setting for therapeutic facilities
18. that, the Assembly “plan” and the Anchored Home “plan’ does nothing to incent people to stop self and socially destructive behaviors, and relies on the same voluntary compliance that has created the conditions which Anchorage now suffers under, and
19. that, the Assembly has no plan to cease the surrendering of public and private spaces to homeless camps and persons, and
20. that, the plan does not address or seek to change the impediments to Title 47, which provides for mental health confinements for those presenting a danger to themselves and to others, and
21. that the “plan” does nothing to protect landlords who would likely house a re-entry population, or seek to change laws that would protect those same landlords from abuse, and
22. that, the MUNI, has spent untold tens of millions of dollars on the following the existing Anchored Home “plan”, lost scores of neighborhoods and public spaces and private property value and security, AND that the Assembly has no interest in changing course to take these issues into consideration, and
23. that, the MUNI’s current proposal will involve spending over 100 million over the next few years, without any mention of metric to judge it for outcomes or efficacy, and
24. that, given the potential impacts and implications of these zoning and budgetary decisions, that following a process that informs the public is necessary to prove that this plan is in the best interests of Anchorage, and
25. that, there is an appearance that the MUNI puts the comfort, and civil rights of the Homeless over that of other citizens, and
26. that, the math that the MUNI presents to prove that Covid-19 caused this crisis does not add up, as: a) the city did a one-time extensive clean out of camps and moved people into the Sullivan Arena, and b) still were unable to show that the bed space was needed as they did not meet full bed capacity even under the Covid-19 restrictions. Proving that this is a self-induced/manufactured crisis.
27. that, the MUNI is placing the responsibility for policing their homes and their neighborhoods on individuals, placing citizens and perpetrators alike at risk, and placing an inordinate cost of these spinnabilities on those people in affected neighborhoods, and
28. that, the MUNI is itself is to blame for high property values as a result of years of Title 21 and Hillside District plan restrictions on single family home and subdivision construction, and
29. that, the MUNI has not seriously considered building a tiny house community, despite the dual benefits of replacing aging mobile homes and creating new structured housing for homeless individuals, and
30. that, the MUNI has downplayed the effect that these properties will have on traffic flow and pedestrian safety
and one final….
31. That, the MUNI continues to advance policies that pit neighbors against each other instead of seeking real solutions that solve problems
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