Anchorage’s emergency warming rooms scale back from 3 to 1

A patron settles into their cot at Anchorage’s Cold Weather Shelter, the former Solid Waste Services administrative building, on Nov. 8, 2023. The city opened an additional, 24-hour warming room at the site in response to a prolonged, sub-zero cold snap on Jan. 26. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage has closed two of its three emergency warming rooms as temperatures climbed out of the negatives.

According to a press release from Mayor Dave Bronson’s office, the warming rooms at the The Aviator Hotel downtown and the former Golden Lion Hotel in the Midtown area were not heavily used and closed on Sunday morning. A third emergency warming room that saw higher use at the city’s Cold Weather Shelter on 56th Avenue is expected to remain open through next Tuesday.

Alexis Johnson, the city’s homelessness coordinator, said that emergency warming space has helped the 200-bed Cold Weather Shelter run more efficiently. The warming space is open 24 hours, and shelter managers can quickly move people from the space to an unclaimed bed.

“It’s really nice to back fill into those beds,” Johnson said. “So you’re really utilizing all the beds. So we may ask for a small warming (center) at CWS, maybe a dozen people just to make sure that all beds are filled.”

The three warming rooms were hastily set up after the mayor declared a public health and safety emergency on Jan. 26 due to the extra-cold weather.

For assistance with resources like food, shelter and rent, call the city’s resource hotline at 2-1-1 or email

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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