Outdoor Deaths Decline in Anchorage
Shelters are more crowded
ANCHORAGE - Fewer people are dying outside, and as a result shelters across the city are becoming more crowded.
But Bomalaski says, this is good news.
“When people are in the shelter at least we have an opportunity to engage them in services, they can come in, they can have a meal, they can use the laundry can take a shower and maybe by being there they form a relationship with somebody there,” she said.
The reason for the decline? Police credit their crackdown on homeless camps... and Karluk Manor, which opened less than a year ago.
According to APD, so far this year one person has died, compared to six people last year.
In 2010, there were 12 deaths.
The year before that was the highest – with 15 deaths in 2009.
“It’s a very significant number; every person that we can reduce their death and dying and give them stable housing is wonderful asset, and it saves our community a great deal of money,” said Melinda Freemon, with RurAL CAP, which runs the Karluk Manor.
She says deaths are inevitable.
“It does happen, but again having it happen in a respectful environment where they feel cared for, is much better than having it happen outside,” said Bomalaski.
Social workers say this is one step toward getting everyone off the streets.