Homeless campers forced to move offer solutions to relocation issues
Some homeless campers say they were pushed out of an area near Ben Boeke ice arena in Anchorage, so they recently moved to a spot near 15th Avenue and A Street.
Now they say they are being told by the Municipality of Anchorage to leave that spot as well because it's city property.
"Constantly on the move," Irving Grinder said. "You're being threatened all the time. And it's not by the people on the streets threatening you, it's by the law enforcement. It's by the city and the municipality."
The problem is not unique to campers and the city, but what many struggle with is finding realistic solutions. Homeless camper Travis Holdren said he'd like to see a way to be empowered.
"I personally would start a program. I wanted to do a nonprofit organization so we could get grants for, you know, take old rundown buildings and renovate them. People like myself and others that have the skills," Holdren said. "We could easily go in and renovate a building and make the property value go up. And we could say, do one building for housing. And the workers could own part of a stake in what they build. And they'd have a sense of pride, something they've done and accomplished."
Holdren says he has worked with heavy machinery as well as in the construction industry.
Anchorage Assembly member Christopher Constant says the home renovation idea is an interesting idea, but he worries about liability issues. He also said it's important that the city listen to what the homeless have to say about possible solutions.
Constant proposed creating an advocacy group made up of homeless people; he said he was "laughed at" over the idea.
KTVA reached out to Anchorage homeless coordinator Nancy Burke for this story, but hasn't heard back.
However, Burke has previously said this is the first summer crews are using a zone system for camp abatement. Notices must be posted giving campers 10 days to vacate an area. She said camps that spring up after the 10-day notice is posted can still be removed, but the municipality is obligated to store those people's belongings.
Anchorage Assembly members budgeted an additional $150,000 to clean up camps this summer, which has allowed the city to hire more people to do the job. Burke said it's also allowed them to pay to store campers' belongings when necessary.
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