The Anchorage Assembly took two big steps on Friday to help the homeless and deal with state budget cuts. It voted to extend the civil emergency declared by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz through Aug. 6 and approved a distribution of $400,000 to Catholic Social Services to continue normal operations at the Brother Francis Shelter.

"This emergency distribution will come from funds previously set aside for cold weather sheltering and other temporary MOA internal departmental reallocations," read a news release from the mayor's office.

City officials say because of the Gov. Mike Dunleavy's budget vetoes, Brother Francis was set to close for four days at the beginning of August. But as of Aug. 1, a shelter representative said there would be no disruption of service.

Natasha Pineda, the Director of the Anchorage Health Department, says an agreement between Anchorage and CSS has been signed and believe a quarterly payment of $100,000 is pending. However, the shelter remains closed during the day.

James Hood says he just got out of the hospital and has some trouble moving around. He says he's been at Brother Francis for a year and doesn't know what he would do without it.

"If wasn't for this place I'd be staying in the woods some place. And that's dangerous being in a wheelchair," Hood said outside Brother Francis on Friday.

Hood says he has deposit money and first month's rent for his own place and is on a short list for housing but nothing has come through yet. Hood also says if Brother Francis is closed for the first four days of August a lot of the city's homeless will simply find another place to sleep around Anchorage, specifically across the street from the shelter, where the homeless return time and time again.

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