The Anchorage Assembly has delayed a vote on putting more than $11 million towards the construction of a large homeless shelter.
The proposed navigation center and shelter would sit at the corner of Tudor and Elmore Roads and would host 150 beds, with a surge capacity of 200 people.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, Assembly member Anna Brawley said members were told by city financial officers last week that the city doesn’t have the money to advance the project.
“The fund source that is proposed for this is not currently available, or there’s not sufficient funding,” Brawley said. “So even if we were to pass this right now, it’s not clear how this would get paid for.”
City officials estimate that roughly 600 homeless people will need shelter in the winter.
Several Assembly members expressed concern that delaying the vote on the shelter would make it unavailable for use in the winter. However, Anchorage Economic and Community Development Director Lance Wilber says even if the Assembly approved the project today, it wouldn’t be ready until mid-winter.
“Whatever process we go through, we negotiate, and we come to it and we’ve got agreement from the Assembly to award it to a contractor, six months from that day is the timeframe,” Wilber said.
The vote was delayed until the August 22 meeting.
The navigation center has been a source of controversy, after Mayor’s Dave Bronson’s administration approved putting millions of dollars towards the project last year without getting Assembly approval. The Assembly recently agreed to pay $2.5 million in a legal settlement to the contractor that worked on the project.
Whether the project will go through in August is still up in the air, with members Chris Constant, George Martinez and Kameron Perez-Verdia saying they don’t support the proposal in its current form.