Muni leaders are enlisting the aid of local business, faith and health leaders on a new council intended to address homelessness in Anchorage.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz unveiled the Homelessness Community Leadership Council, as well as a revised version of a plan to deal with homelessness in Anchorage entitled “Anchored Home: 2018-2021,” at a Thursday news conference. Key elements of the plan calls for expanding the city’s housing and support system, improving public health and safety, and increasing advocacy and funding.

According to the mayor’s office, council members include:

Bruce Lamoureux, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive for Providence Alaska Region
Mike Abbott, CEO for the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
Sophie Minich, President/CEO for Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
Carol Gore, President/CEO for Cook Inlet Housing Authority
Gretchen Cuddy, community member-at-large
Rev. Matthew Schultz, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church
Paul Landes for General Communication, Inc.
Diane Kaplan, President/CEO for the Rasmuson Foundation
Dr. Richard Mandsager, Sr. Fellow for the Rasmuson Foundation
Greg Cerbana, Vice President for Weidner Properties
Joe Marushack, President of ConocoPhillips Alaska.

Berkowitz and Lamoureux will co-chair the group.

The municipality has sought funds this year to help house homeless people in town, also unveiling a targeted project called Path to Independence which offers funds and reduced rent for dozens of homeless people. Earlier this month, the cleanup of a Fairview homeless camp offered an example of pressures faced by muni officials in addressing the persistent issue.

"Nearly all human endeavor is enhanced through community involvement,” Lamoureux said in a statement. “Our desire and intent to improve options for shelter will reduce the need for services such as law enforcement, corrections and health care, while reducing the suffering of people who are homeless. This is best achieved when we work together, including with the business community."

The council will be responsible for enacting the revised “Anchored Home” plan, which is still in draft form but set for an October launch after being reviewed by community leaders.

A public meeting on the plan will be held at the Loussac Library's Wilda Marston Theatre on Sept. 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Lauren Maxwell contributed information to this story.

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