Anchorage Assembly votes to keep non-profit exemptions for 911 calls

ANCHORAGE, AK A vote Tuesday night by the Anchorage Assembly was a win for shelters like Bean’s Cafe and Brother Francis. But some in the Fairview area think non-profits should have to pay a fee for excessive police calls.

Sirens are just one way people work to ward off homeless people and alert authorities.Bean’s Cafe Executive Director Lisa Sauder says finding a solution to the homeless problem takes more than loud sounds.

"We can only control what happens on the property that we lease. We don't have anything to say about people off our property, on the sidewalks, up the street, down the street,” Sauder said. “So that certainly takes a lot more coordination and really a community-wide response."

The Anchorage Assembly last night turned down a proposal that would have removed the exemption non-profits currently have from paying the fees for excessive police calls near them. Proponents of removing the exemption say enforcing fees is a tool that APD uses effectively in other areas.

Housing and Homeless Services Coordinator Nancy Burke says the city continues to work towards long-term solutions.
"Now it's time for the assembly to come back and discuss what might be helpful for the next phase of an agreement to implement solutions," she said.

Some initiatives outlined by Burke include long-term shelter for people with higher needs and disabilities that require additional support, as well as rebuilding treatment facilities and focusing on curbing substance abuse.

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