ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Newly purchased property and buildings adjacent to an Anchorage shelter are expected to serve as a resource hub for people experiencing homelessness.
Weidner Apartment Homes and the Rasmuson Foundation said the apartment company plans to buy parcels of land next to the Brother Francis Shelter and a building and property owned by Bean’s Cafe, which serves meals to the homeless community, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“The area available for serving homeless and vulnerable individuals will change substantially,” Weidner and Rasmuson said in a joint statement Friday.
The sale is expected to be finalized this spring, with renovations beginning soon after. The acquisition cost was not immediately available.
Dick Mandsager, a senior fellow with the Rasmuson Foundation, said the price was “several million” dollars.
There is no plan for commercial development on the properties owned by Ron Alleva, who said Friday he did not know the real estate deal was being finalized but that he would consider the transaction complete when he receives payment.
The deal is part of a $40 million philanthropic pledge in which Weidner, Rasmuson Foundation, Providence Health & Services Alaska and Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska committed to spend millions of dollars to address homelessness in Anchorage.
The project will not use taxpayer funds. Rasmuson will fund operations at the resource center, although an operator has not yet been selected, Mandsager said.
The funds pledged by Weidner will pay for the purchase and renovation of the Bean’s Cafe building, which will become a permanent daytime resource hub where people can receive medical care and other types of assistance, Mandsager said.
The resource center will provide a range of services from access to case managers and laundry facilities to phone charging, Mandsager said.
“The sort of post-pandemic plan is to have housing, overnight services for 120ish folks on that site,” Mandsager said.
There is no plan for additional beds at the Brother Francis shelter, which is expected to operate with lower capacity than in the past as part of a strategy to decentralize homeless services, he said.
“One of the things it’s not going to be is a camping site,” Mandsager said.