Concern Over Proposed Housing for Homeless and Mentally Ill
Long House Project neighbors worry about facility’s location
ANCHORAGE - Community councils are asking the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to a delay a decision to fund a housing project intended for the mentally ill.
This comes after a meeting they had Monday night to discuss the Long House Project. If the proposal goes forward, it would transform the Long House Hotel into a place for chronically homeless and people with mental illness to live and receive treatment. The hotel is located on Wisconsin Street off Spenard, and is just a few hundred feet from Faith Daycare & Learning Center.
The new project has some of the 100 parents that use the daycare concerned. "I just don't think it's a good idea," Tiarra Bradford said. She said that the facility is also a church, which means they're open to the community. She's concerned people could get in that shouldn't be there.
Nancy Burke with the Trust said it could be good for the area. She said that the people at Long House would be permanent residents instead of transient guests. "We just need some time to prove up," she said.
One teacher at Faith said it isn't just the daycare that concerns her. There are several other schools in the area. "I understand there is a need for that portion of the communities to have facilities and help. At the same time I also look at what there is in this area," Amber Kurka said.
Burke said that similar programs in Seattle, Fairbanks and in Anchorage at the Karluk Manor downtown all faced criticism from their neighbors. She said people forget that the residents also have counselors and other people who work with them every day.
Faith Daycare and Learning Center Director Mona Hundrup said the facility could mean higher overhead for the daycare. "There's a possibility we would have to spend more money on more personnel... to try to make sure we track who is around the building. Our level of awareness and safety gets heightened on a daily basis."
"Being alert and being aware is always important," said Burke.