Police work to clean up sidewalk campers not using the shelter
Anchorage Police are still looking for a stabbing suspect who murdered a man on the sidewalk near the Brother Francis Shelter last Thursday. But, in the days since it happened, officers have made a big difference in cleaning up sidewalks in the area.
Officer Gordon Korell of the Community Action Policing Team (CAP) said the CAP team has been patrolling in the area every day for the last few weeks, asking people to take down tents and move on. On Wednesday afternoon, the result was noticeable.
“The goal is to hopefully get them wanting to stay in the shelter and use those facilities because it’s there and it’s open to them, ” said Korell. “Unfortunately, they don’t always want to follow the rules, so they don’t always want to stay there.” Still, he said, people seem to be getting the word they can’t spend the night or even the day sleeping on the sidewalk.
A spokeswoman for Catholic Social Services confirmed there are beds available at the shelter and that more people are using them. She said there were 169 guests sleeping at the shelter on June 1. By June 13, the count had jumped to 209.
One place people are not sleeping at night is Bean’s Cafe. The Anchorage Assembly recently voted to allow the winter emergency shelter to stay open all year, but, the vote came without a fiscal note and the shelter has not been open for overnight use this summer. City Homeless Coordinator Nancy Burke said they are looking to find a way to pay for the overnight service so that Beans can be a shelter option as well.
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