Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena shelter will close to hundreds Monday

Cots and totes are organized on the floor of an arena.
The Sullivan Arena shelter. (Elyssa Loughlin/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage’s emergency shelter at the Sullivan Arena will now close to most of its users at noon Monday. Up to 90 people with mobility or other impairments will be able to stay on until May 31.

Before the Anchorage Assembly took action Tuesday, the Sullivan was slated to close on Sunday. 

Assembly members have said they needed more time to find housing for some of the Sullivan’s most vulnerable residents. But the Sullivan had also become a symbol of the fraught politics that stymied attempts to open smaller, permanent shelters. 

During the first phase of the closure Monday, hundreds of people will have to leave. Assembly member Felix Rivera said consultant Restorative and Reentry Services will redouble transition efforts. 

“So what happens between now and May 1 at 12 noon?” Rivera said. “Good question. RRS has helped to organize providers into what they are calling a quote-unquote ‘war room at the Sullivan’ to really go through the list each and every day to see what resources could be brought to bear to help folks transition out of the Sullivan.”

Other Assembly actions Tuesday will cover beefed up summer outreach services, start-up costs to get the former Golden Lion Hotel running as low-income housing this spring, and support for a pair of new task forces examining other housing solutions. 

Rivera said any decision the Assembly made would have consequences. He called scaling back the Sullivan “a kick in the ass to get the job done.” 

Jeremy Hsieh covers Anchorage with an emphasis on housing, homelessness, infrastructure and development. Reach him at or 907-550-8428. Read more about Jeremy here.

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