As part of a coordinated effort to reduce homelessness in Alaska, Weidner Apartment Homes has agreed to purchase the large parcel of land next to the Brother Francis Shelter, as well as the building currently used by Bean’s Café. Through a partnership with the Rasmuson Foundation, the deal clears the way to set up a day-time resource hub in the Third Avenue area, improving long-standing public safety problems, as well as helping more Alaskans get into housing and access essential mental health, substance abuse services, and employment services. Bean’s Café, which has been transitioning their service model toward a meal-delivery program, will relocate to a new space.
“In a city the size of Anchorage, homelessness is a solvable problem when the community works together,” said Weidner founder and CEO W. Dean Weidner. “With resources, coordination, and support, we know that we can help hundreds of vulnerable people get the care, shelter, and support they need to get back on their feet.”
In 2019, Weidner and Rasmuson were part of a group of organizations committing to spend $40 million over the coming years to help solve homelessness in Anchorage. Both pledged to contribute $10 million, and the current purchase is a significant piece of that investment. The new project will improve facilities that already exist in the Third Avenue area, in the process fixing long-standing problems with safety, cleanliness, and limited services available during day-time hours. There are no plans to add shelter capacity.
“This is a way for private companies and foundations like ours to make Anchorage a safer, kinder, and healthier place to live,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation President & CEO. “We will augment work already being done by the city and nonprofits as part of the broader Anchored Home plan. One way we can help is funding to expand and improve the Third Avenue area.”