Most nights this winter, the Brother Francis Shelter has turned people away because they're full. Now, some of those who couldn't get a bed there are sleeping at nearby Bean's Cafe.

The City has reached a deal with the food kitchen to allow people to sleep there temporarily while officials search for a more permanent overflow shelter.

The overnight shelter is being run by the same people who operate the Anchorage Safety Patrol.

Homeless Coordinator Nancy Burke said employees have had special training to deal with the homeless population.

"It was a natural thought for us to see if they could help us with the overflow shelter," said Burke. "Because many of the people are the same. Maybe they've encountered them in the past. It's a familiar population and so far we've been pleased with how it's going."

Burke said somewhere between 40 and 70 people have been sleeping at Bean's for the last two weeks. But, the situation is only temporary.

Bean's Director Lisa Sauder said the Cafe isn't interested in having overnight guests on a long-term basis, partly because the nonprofit is searching for a new insurance provider and doesn't want to incur the liability or higher rates. Sauder said they want to focus on their primary mission of feeding people.

Under the deal, the Cafe can function as an overflow shelter only until December 18. Burke said the City is looking for a location that will work for the rest of the winter as well as more permanent housing.

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