Building Update – Aug 12, 2020

Over the last few weeks Bean’s Cafe facility has been mentioned in the assembly meetings as one of four buildings to potentially be purchased as part of an initiative to address homelessness. Many people provided input into this process over the last few weeks and we certainly recognize the volatility of this issue in any community’s backyard.
The Municipality of Anchorage asked us to get an appraisal on our building at 1101 E. 3rd Avenue to ascertain the validity of a proposed purchase. The board unanimously approved the appraisal process with the understanding that this did not in any way obligate us to sell the building. Our building is more than land, kitchen and dining hall since we also have a city ordinance to consider as well. More importantly, any change in location or service needs to increase the service to our clients.
The vote by the Assembly last night to move this process forward does not automatically turn the building over to the Municipality. We have no formal offer from the Municipality and we as an agency need to determine what is in the best interest for our clients and our community, and the organization as a whole.
While the process is not seamless, we do appreciate the intent of the Mayor’s office and want to continue to seek options as we strive as a community to make homelessness, rare, brief and a one-time event. We will continue to be part of the discussion of system change in our community, and only sell the building if it makes strategic sense to enhance service to clients.
As donors, volunteers, clients and friends, we want to include all of the voices so that we can best offer food and services to our homeless clients. One of the important lessons we found throughout the many changes in the last few months is that the 24- hour shelter and food distribution model has worked to allow for easy access to clients to provide navigation services. This is critical so that we can help them find their pathway to self-sufficiency. The navigation team have directed over 300 clients to housing, rehab or mental health services. As clients engage in services with Bean’s Cafe on a much larger scale, we are able to link them to many partner services and provide a way for clients to exit from the shelter.
 We will continue our services the Anchorage’s homeless population. Our 350 beds and three meals a day provide much-needed shelter and food during this COVID crisis. We are strategically thinking about the next steps for Bean’s Cafe and are looking at options to continue our methods of providing food and shelter to anyone who needs it throughout the entire city of Anchorage.
Whatever our next course, we are going to maintain our mission to fight hunger for all ages, one meal at a time, while providing a pathway to self-sufficiency with dignity and respect. We have done this for more than 40 years and will do so for another 40 years.

Thank you for your continued support.

Building Update – July 1, 2020

Bean’s Cafe has been in the news lately. We want to give a status update that accurately reflects what is happening in the organization.

Since 1979 Bean’s Cafe has consistently provided food and shelter to the hungry and homeless in Anchorage. Since that first day in 1979 Bean’s Cafe has dedicated itself to fighting hunger one meal at a time while providing pathways to self-sufficiency with dignity and respect.

When COVID-19 guidelines from CDC came out regarding congregate shelter, it was immediately realized that our current shelter model in Anchorage was not adequate. The requirement to have six feet of separation was simply not possible with the existing shelter building.

On March 22, at the request of the Municipality of Anchorage, Bean’s Cafe agreed to dramatically increase services and moved all client operations to the Sullivan Arena and Ben Boeke Ice Arenas. After successfully navigating over 180 clients out of emergency shelter, we were able to consolidate all operations within the Sullivan Arena so the Ben Boeke Ice Arena could return to its original purpose.

In order to accommodate a completely different food delivery model, Bean’s Cafe ramped up meal production and calls for donated food items. The entire facility on 3rd Avenue is now a meal production facility. The dining area that used to house clients, tables and chairs, is now packed with donated food and meal prep tables. In fact, we have produced over 50,000 meals since March 21for our clients receiving services at the Sullivan arena.

With a rented U-haul trailer, our kitchen staff now deliver over 300 breakfasts, lunches and dinners to be served at Sullivan Arena every day. Although clients are not being directly served at our 3rd Avenue location, we are still operating the building at full speed.

As the Municipality of Anchorage and our entire community work together to find a path forward to address homelessness, addiction and mental health, the Municipality inquired into the possibility of acquiring the Bean’s Cafe building, which we own. The Bean’s Cafe board of directors unanimously agreed to order a building appraisal with the clear understanding it did not mean we are, or would be, interested in selling our current site. We are still very early in the process of considering the multiple options to best serve the needs of our clients and community.

While we are exploring our possibilities, we are always committed to providing food and finding services to end the cycle of homelessness within our community. Any change of location will only enhance our central mission and will not change despite the location of our building and shelter services.

Our current building has many stories of hope and success, and we will continue to find those stories wherever the services of Bean’s Cafe are located in our community. We look forward to collaborating with the Municipality, other homeless service providers and our many neighbors to find the solutions to best help our clients.

Thank you for your continued support.

Watch our video below for an update!

Posted by Beans Cafe on Monday, June 22, 2020