Tag Archives: alcoholism

karluk manor negative feedback continues

I wrote about this Jan. 25th — Rural CAP’s proposed residential center for homeless alcoholics in an existing hotel building in Fairview was generating some fierce opposition.

Since then, the municipal Assembly has been removing some roadblocks, and plans for Karluk Manor seem to be moving ahead.

Today, former Veco Times columnist Paul Jenkins engages in NIMBY-baiting in an ADN column:

If another facility for drunks is such a great deal for Fairview, maybe it would sell in an East Anchorage or Midtown or Hillside neighborhood.  Right?

Jenkins’ faux compassion for the much-maligned Fairview still makes a point [one I have noted serveral times]: social services tend to congregate in places in Anchorage where their clients are located, and where real estate prices are lowest.  The vicious cycle created makes it doubly difficult to distribute these services in locations citywide.

It’s both a financial and attitudinal vexing problem.  People have to stop believing Mt. View and Fairview [and to a lesser extent, Muldoon and Spenard] are dangerous and undesirable locations, and begin to take on an active role in a counterpunch, i.e. try [in any of dozens of different ways] to make the neighborhood famous for a better reason.

Not an easy task, and results may take decades to materialize.

The problem with fanning the flames of NIMBY-ism in order to derail Karluk Manor, is that it is a promising community structure, based on a model that has worked well elsewhere, and should be given a chance to succeed.  I think that, though the situation Jenkins laments should be addressed in the future, the potential for Rural CAP to make real progress in rehabilitation of chronic street alcoholics trumps downside for the neighbors in this instance.

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some pushback on ruralcap’s karluk manor proposal

This cute sign is posted across the street from a local franchise of the Red Roof Inn, at East 5th Ave. and Karluk St. in Anchorage’s Fairview neighborhood. 

RuralCap, a multi-pronged social service agency is working on a deal to purchase the motel and convert it to a group home for homeless alcoholics, where alcohol will be allowed on the premises, under certain rules and conditions.  It is the first project of its kind in Anchorage, but the program model has been successful in Seattle and other places, according to Melinda Freemon, who presented the project at the January meeting of the Mt. View Community Council.  Freemon said that Anchorage will ultimately save money by getting inebriated people off the streets and into safe housing.

RuralCap also operates the Homeward Bound program, at locations in Mt. View.  Everything I’ve ever heard about Homeward Bound has been very positive.  That program also allows residents to continue to drink, but they are not allowed to be on site when under the influence.

Both Fairview and Mt. View have very visible populations of homeless, especially in summer when there are camps in wooded areas adjacent to both neighborhoods.  The issue of homelessness has been brought into sharper focus the last couple years, with city government considering more and better ways to assist and intervene.  And there has been concern about a series of deaths among the homeless population.

The first couple of years I lived in Mt. View I volunteered for a work crew on the annual neighborhood clean-up.  One of the projects we got to do was clean out homeless camps.  Sometimes I wish everyone who is opposed to Karluk Manor could observe the conditions in these camps close up.

Over the years the attitude in Mt. View has been cooperative, for the most part regarding the willingness to allow facilities like Homeward Bound to locate here.

Update 1/30/10: Fairview residents against the project have put up an anti-Karluk Manor web site.  [Comments are not accepted there, unfortunately.]

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