The Municipality of Anchorage has reached an agreement with Bean's Cafe to allow it to continue operating as an overflow shelter.

Homeless coordinator Nancy Burke said the agreement goes through January 31, although, there are options to extend the lease. The Anchorage Assembly has approved money for the shelter. Burke said the lease amount paid to Bean's in January is about $8,000.

Bean's has operated as an overflow shelter in the past, but this time, the city is overseeing the operation. Burke said a recent change is allowing people to stay starting as early as 6 p.m.

"Previously, we had the overflow shelter open, but it began at 10 o'clock, so people were waiting for that to open," said Burke. "Now, there's a warm place starting at 6 o'clock, so that's a real improvement for us."

Burke said the overflow shelter is being monitored by Securitas, the same security company that operates the Anchorage Safety Center and Patrol. She added that it's nothing fancy, there aren't even mats for people to lie down on. But, with two exposure deaths this winter, Burke said the shelter can provide a safe place for people to get warm.

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