Backers of housing for alcoholics make changes

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Backers of a proposed apartment complex for homeless alcoholics say they've made significant changes to the project to meet neighborhood objections, including not allowing sexual offenders or violent criminals to live there.

The private social service agency, Rural CAP, wanted to turn the Red Roof Inn of Fairview into a home for street alcoholics who can't stop drinking.

The project, called Karluk Manor, would have 48 apartments and 24-hour staffing. It hopes to reduce the overall costs of emergency room and police services by providing permanent housing for alcoholics.

The Fairview Community Council voted this year to oppose the project.

"We think we already shoulder more than our fair burden for services of this nature," Fairview president Sharon Chamard told the Anchorage Daily News.

She said the council still opposes the project.

Melinda Freemon, Rural CAP's Anchorage services director, said the group is pledging to regularly clean up nearby Fairview Lions Park and that the agency will be able to respond faster to neighborhood complaints.

It has also decided to provide meals for its residents seven days a week instead of five, Freemon said.

The project still needs approval from the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

A new city law said housing for severe alcoholics can't be too close to parks and schools unless the project gets a special permit from the commission.

Freemon said the Fairview Lions Park is a bit closer than is allowed without the special consideration. The commission is scheduled to consider the issue at its July 19 meeting.

Planning director Jerry Weaver said the city's planning department, which makes recommendations to the commission, does not support the location. He declined to say why, but noted that the department review would be out soon.

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