Tuesday night at its work session, the Kodiak City Council consulted the Brother Frances Shelter about how to help the transient population downtown and improve the community at the same time.
Executive Director Monty Hawver sat on one side of the table with Mayor Pat Branson on the opposite side, and she asked him to share his experiences and ideas.
“What can we do – and we have the downtown committee – but what can we do? And you and I sat and talked a little bit. Is there something that the city could contribute to a nonprofit to get some of these people back to where they came from to get services, and I think that’s something that you had mentioned, Monty.”
Hawver said it would useful to have a fund to help people travel off island.
“I would never ask anybody to leave or crowbar anybody into leaving, but I literally had them ask me. I had two of them, in fact two of the biggest troublemakers in town ask me to leave, and I didn’t have any funding to send them out, but if we had a fund that I could use to fund people to get back to where they have a better support system, that would be immensely helpful.”
Hawver said with the funding he has now, there needs to be an underlying medical cause or a similar reason to offer people financial assistance for travel. He said a fund dedicated to that purpose would be an easy solution.
“Now, there could be unintended consequences. I’d have to watch what I was doing, and one of them would be they start misbehaving ‘cause they know they get a ticket out of here. So, [they’re] probably gonna get a good chewing out by me if they start that, ‘cause I can read that.”
Branson said that many members of the transient population spend the daytime in the library and the police department often interacts with them, so she may have a follow-up conversation with library staff and the Kodiak Police Department to discuss the idea.
The City Council will next convene for a regular meeting Thursday night, and that’ll be at 7:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers.