As temperatures drop, concerns rise for homeless
As the weather begins to turn, so does the concern for Alaska's homeless population in more unsafe elements.
The Anchorage Assembly Committee on Homelessness meeting ran on Wednesday at city hall. The idea of sanctioned camps has been floated but no decisions have been made.
Still, the need for a warm place to stay for those without a permanent home is already rising in mid-September.
"Now what do we do with the folks who are camping, have no place to go," asked assemblyman Felix Rivera. "We can't abate them necessarily because there isn't room in the shelters. A lot of questions and I'm hopeful that we'll find some short-term solutions but one of the things I think we need to do is get out of is the cycle of short-term solutions because we've been doing that for the last few years and really exploring what a long-term plan is."
Rivera says there are cities in the Lower 48 with weather similar to Anchorage that are utilizing sanctioned camps year-round. The Assembly is formulating a list of questions which will be sent to a handful of commissions.
"That would really play a key role in helping develop and flesh out policy around this," Rivera said. "Right now we're trying to explore whether this is a good idea to pursue or not. We haven't made that determination yet."
The bottom line is safety.
"I don't want dead bodies in our parks because we haven't found a place for folks to go," Rivera said.
In the short-term, day shelters and expanding emergency shelters are options. The long-term is where those sanctioned camps may come into play.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
MORE NEWS FROM KTVA: