Former “Homelessness Czar” Robert Marbut’s contract with Muni Revealed

In February, Robert Marbut, a Trump appointee, was removed from his position as executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).

In his previous role as a homelessness consultant to cities, Marbut called for cities to stop “enabling” homelessness by providing free meals, which he called “street feeding,” and to stop allowing people to sleep in public spaces. He also endorsed expanding law enforcement’s authority to arrest people experiencing homelessness for violating minor ordinances.

Marbut rejects “Housing First,” a proven strategy that prioritizes finding safe, stable, accessible housing for people experiencing homelessness before addressing other problems, like substance abuse or untreated mental health issues.

Naturally, the Bronson administration saw all of this as a positive and swept Marbut up, hiring the former Trump “homelessness czar” as a consultant.

Municipal Manager Amy Demboski emailed the Anchorage Assembly today with a copy of the “executed contract” with Marbut, which she wrote had been adjusted to reflect Marbut’s fee and to cover his travel expenses.

Questions have been raised about when Dr. Marbut began working for the Bronson administration. Assemblymember Jamie Allard previously asserted at a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly that there was no contract for Marbut, noting that sometimes people volunteer their time and saying that she had “affirmation” from the Bronson administration that no contract had been executed.

However, Dr. Marbut is said to have previously stated at a meeting with the ACDA that he had begun working with the Bronson administration on July 30th.

According to the contract, Marbut’s fee is not to exceed $9,950 and is payable in full upon receiving the invoice. The contract term runs from August 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021.

As the mystery surrounding Marbut’s contract deepens, the fact that Dr. Marbut’s contract is set to expire at the end of this month is great news for Anchorage’s unhoused.

This post has been updated with additional information.

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