Municipality could soon seek the purchase of four properties to address homeless needs across Anchorage

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - As early at next week's assembly meeting, the Municipality of Anchorage could begin discussions over the proposed purchase of four separate properties which would be used as treatment shelters, transitional housing, and engagement centers to assist the city's homeless population.

Read the full proposal as written, here: AO No. 2020-66

The properties in question are listed as follows:
- The Bean's Cafe Campus on 3rd Avenue, to be transitioned into an "engagement center"
- The Best Western/Golden Lion Inn in Midtown, to be transitioned into a treatment facility with step down housing
- The former Alaska Club building near the intersection of Tudor Road and Old Seward Highway, to be used as an "engagement center"
- The America's Best Value Hotel in Spenard, which could potentially be used for housing and the distribution of resources

According to the language included in A0 #2020-66, the purchase and renovation of the properties must cost no more than $22.5 million dollars, which would come from the portion of Alaska's CARES Act funding that has been designated to the municipality.

On Friday, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz briefly commented on each of the properties, during a municipal press conference. Berkowitz commented on the need to dispel various rumors regarding the proposed usage of the Golden Lion Inn.

According to the mayor, he wanted to "make sure that the debate that occurs is based on facts, not on propaganda." He also reassured residents that the public process would be followed throughout any discussions related to the ordinance.

"We're trying to address some longstanding community problems here in a way that moves the community forward," Berkowitz said. "There are hard choices in front of us. One of the choices we can make is doing nothing, but doing nothing at this point is a deliberative choice."

KTUU reached out to Bean's Cafe Executive Director Lisa Sauder about the proposal. Sauder confirmed that an evaluation of the property is being carried out at the request of the municipality, but her organization has still not made a decision on whether or not they would be willing to sell.

"We are happy to partner with the municipality, and to talk about all the options for serving our community, but we're not quite sure what that looks like yet," Sauder said.

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