Alaska editorial: Degrees of shelter

This editorial first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

The Anchorage Assembly will consider whether to raise the temperature at which churches and other social service outfits can offer shelter to individuals and families when there’s no room left at Brother Francis Shelter and Bean’s Cafe.

That’s wise and decent. Right now the cutoff is 32 degrees for organizations that have a roof but don’t ordinarily offer shelter to the homeless; the city administration proposes a new cutoff of 45 degrees.

Better yet, forget the number. Let the standard be the overflow at the usual shelters rather than the temperature. Let churches and other agencies that have room at the inn and in their hearts set their own policies about when to open their doors.

Catholic Social Services does that now at the Brother Francis Shelter.

If a church or other organization is willing and able to provide backup at any temperature, it should be free to do so within the current bounds of fire safety, space and staff.

Those who have offered a place out of the cold likely will continue to be generous.

Alaskans know better than most that there are degrees of cold.

We also know that it doesn’t have to be below freezing to make the night long and miserable without a roof, the right gear or the right state of mind.

It’s just a question of how fast it gets dangerous.

Don’t read the thermometer, just meet the need.

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Thu, 02/23/2017 - 08:26

Alaska editorial: Recognition increasing that state needs new funds to sustain services

This editorial first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

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Thu, 02/23/2017 - 08:26

Open letter to Sen. Murkowski

Dear Senator Murkowski,

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 11:53

Stand with Alaskans and stand with Planned Parenthood

I appreciate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s recent decision to support repealing the Trump administration’s global gag rule. The global gag rule bans federal money for overseas family planning programs if the programs also provide abortion, or provide information about abortion. The global gag rule puts thousands of lives at risk, and Murkowski has rightly recognized that. I praise Murkowski, and want her to know that Alaskans stand with her in supporting access to family planning services. This means that we support Planned Parenthood, and we hope she will stand with us in the coming weeks by refusing to vote for any changes to the Affordable Care Act that include defunding Planned Parenthood. Read more

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