Bean's Cafe gives reflective gear to the homeless to keep them safe
Winter and pedestrian safety is of great concern for those experiencing homelessness.
Just last month, a homeless woman was hit and killed by an Anchorage driver just two blocks from Bean's Cafe.
That's why on Thursday, volunteers with the cafe handed out neon reflective hats, vests and tape — potentially saving a life.
"It's just dark; we know it's dangerous," said Bean's Cafe Executive Director Lisa Sauder.
She says roads like this can cause close calls for drivers and the homeless.
"We know sidewalks can be obstructive roadways and are slippery," said Sauder. "It's easy for people to slip and fall and not be visible because they're not upright."
For some of the homeless, this is something they deal with every day.
"When I cross the street, people sometimes they don't see when they're driving fast in weather like that," said Arkan Sajid.
Sajid has been homeless for several years with multiple heart-stopping stories.
"I was trying to cross the street; the guy who stopped the car, slipped on the snow, stopped like that," he explained. "It was a walk stop and I was supposed to walk, but the guy was so fast like he [didn't see] me."
Sajid wasn't hurt this time but many others aren't always as fortunate.
"Every year and every winter, especially, we have several really sad situations where clients are injured or killed and you know, it's a tragic situation for the entire community," said Sauder.
That's why Bean's Cafe partnered with Brother Francis Shelter, South Central Foundation, TOTE Maritime and the Alaska Injury Prevention Center to bring resources and information to the clients at Bean's Cafe and give the homeless the reflective vests.
"We really think this could absolutely save a life; if somebody is more visible, they're much less likely to be struck," said Sauder. "We're also reminding our clients to be very careful to not walk in the roadways and many times sidewalks are obstructed. They can't walk on them but we just want everyone to be as safe as possible."
Many of the homeless at Bean's Cafe say the vests can be helpful for everyone.
"The purpose of them is to help the other cars see the pedestrians," said Bean's Cafe client, Teal Albertson. "I think everyone else in Anchorage should have them not just the people here all over."
Bean's Cafe staff hope the bright neon orange and lemon yellow will make Anchorage's roads a little bit safer during these cold winter nights.
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