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.]