​​​​​​​​​​​Homeless and Transient Shelter Licensing
The Anchorage Health Department views Homeless and Transient Shelter Licensing as an opportunity to create relationships and provide support to shelters, while guaranteeing a minimum standard of care for clients.


On June 22, 2021, the Anchorage Assembly passed Assembly Ordinance 2021-055(S-1), now Anchorage Municipal Code Chapter 16.125 – Homeless and Transient Shelter Licensing. AMC 16.125 outlines the responsibilities and powers given to the Anchorage Health Department (AHD) for implementing Shelter Licensing in order to:

1. establish minimum standards of care,

2. enable and maintain data collection about people experiencing homelessness, ​

3. maintain appropriate oversight for the sake of shelter clients, and 

4. mitigate impacts on neighboring residents, businesses, etc.  ​​​


Homeless and Transient Shelters that have been determined as day or overnight shelters under AMC 16.125 are required to be licensed. 

  • Shelters should begin submitting at least the informational portion in the Shelter License Application online. 
  • After shelters submit their applications and they have been accepted, Provisional Licenses will be issued.
  • Shelters may choose to submit their application without attaching any required documents
  • Shelters that do not submit required documentation will be contacted by a Housing and Homeless Services Program representative to assist in submitting the required documentaion. 
  • Provisional Licenses may be extended upon AHD Director approval. 
  • Homeless and Transient Shelter Licenses are valid for 3 years. ​​


According to Municipal Code Chapter 16.125 – Homeless and Transient Shelter Licensing, the definitions of overnight shelter and day shelter are:
    • Overnight Shelter: a facility designed to provide minimum necessities of life on a limited, short-term basis for individuals and families during periods of dislocation or emergency pending formulation of long-term planning 
    • Day Shelter: a social services facility primarily engaged in providing services or activities to advance the welfare of individuals experiencing homelessness and others in need, such as food or clothing distribution, job or life skills counseling or training, connections and on-site engagement with appropriate social services and public assistance providers, planning for more permanent housing and employment, and the like

  • ​The assembly passed ordinance AO No. 2021-55(S-1), which has become Municipal Code Chapter 16.125 – Homeless and Transient Shelter Licensing. According to the code, the Anchorage Health Department is required to implement and enforce a licensing system for overnight and day shelters.
  • The Municipal Code states that the purpose of licensing is, “to establish minimum standards of care and operation for homeless shelters in the municipality, enable and maintain data collection and monitoring of the homeless population, to maintain appropriate oversight in order to provide individuals and families experiencing homelessness with the care and services needed, and mitigate impacts of neighboring residents, businesses, property owners and the users of the shelters.”

The cost will be $100 for one three(3) year homeless and transient Shelter License. This is subject to change or modification.
  • The municipality appreciates the valuable work that shelters do every day. According to Municipal Code Chapter 16.125 – Homeless and Transient Shelter Licensing, “The requirements of this chapter are not intended to be overly burdensome on homeless shelter operators. The intent of the assembly is to permit homeless and transient shelters to locate and operate with as much autonomy as is reasonably allowable.”
  • Homeless and Transient Shelters may have different use or zoning which is non-traditional. Each business will need to meet the zoning and use requirements within their zone. Zoning and Use were not used to determine which businesses should be considered Homeless and transient shelters. The definitions provided in AMC 16.125 for day and overnight shelter were used to create the determination questions which identify Homeless and Transient Shelters.​

    Applications will only be accepted online and will be posted on this website.​