ANCHORAGE, AK (February 16, 2016) — More than 400 people attended a town hall meeting on Monday night to advocate for more detox beds in the city, said Alaska Conference superintendent Curtis Ivanoff.
There are just 14 detox beds in Anchorage, which is home to 300,000 people. The Ernie Turner Center is the only detox facility that serves the city and surrounding area. According to officials, it turns away 15 to 20 people every day, and wait list times average 10 days.
The meeting, which was held at a local Catholic church, was a partnership between Native Catholic Ministry and Anchorage Faith & Action—Congregations Together. In February 2015, a meeting was held at First Covenant Church with state legislators, but little had been accomplished since then, said Phil Cannon, the congregation’s associate pastor.
Monday’s meeting included two state health officials and mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “There were compelling testimonies and a call for the need to collaborate and to act,” he said. “This is an issue about ‘we’ and ‘us,’ about our children and families.”