The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage Assembly to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. For more questions and to see all the candidates’ answers, click here. For School Board candidate surveys, click here.
Q: What should the city do to alleviate the issue of illegal camps in green spaces in Anchorage?
DISTRICT 2, SEAT A: CHUGIAK-EAGLE RIVER
Property rights of others need to be respected and the city will have to continue to enforce those laws. There are multiple nonprofits working on these issues in dealing with the people involved and the city should cooperate with these groups, allowing them to provide the services they do without undue governmental oversight or interference. And certainly residents should feel free to support these efforts as their own personal financial capacity allows.
As a city, we must end the cycle of homeless camp abatement which continues to lead to resettlement of a new area. This only serves to push these citizens into other areas, such as my community in Eagle River-Chugiak. Instead, we should be providing long-term solutions which address the homeless population. We should be working towards getting these homeless individuals, many of whom are families and children, to find livable jobs and long-term housing solutions.
DISTRICT 4, SEAT F: MIDTOWN
The illegal camps are illegal. They must be dismantled and the people removed from these public spaces. That sounds harsh - but law abiding residents should not be pushed out of the public spaces to maintain. It is time for broader dialogue about the causes of homelessness and responsible solutions.
I support a housing first model. I believe that Anchorage must work closely with partners to address homelessness. That means providing mental health support, addiction treatment services, & help to find jobs. There are nonprofits that are currently providing these services. We need to create opportunities to coordinate the private and Municipal services to eliminate redundancy and find populations that are not being served.
Remove them immediately.
DISTRICT 3, SEAT D: WEST ANCHORAGE
There is no simple or quick fix to homelessness. I think the city is headed in the right direction by addressing this problem on multiple fronts through measures like more rapid camp abatement, increasing our mobile intervention team, and investing in housing first efforts.
I’ve never seen a eagle with a illness. But what in Dutch Harbor I’ve seen a highway of eagles traveling in a line going someplace with purpose. Eagles are strong powerful and respected by all other animals.
I will need to do more research before I set forth a viable course of action. The “devil is in the details” and it is important to know the facts and what other cities are doing.
DISTRICT 5, SEAT H: EAST ANCHORAGE
The only long-term solution is appropriate, affordable housing, coupled with supportive services. If we focus only on abatement without having places for folks to actually go, then people experiencing homelessness will just move from park to park. There are also constitutional limits to what we can do, and appropriately so; people have a right to exist. That being said, it is not safe to have folks living in the parks, and I support the Community Action Policing and Mobile Intervention teams.
DISTRICT 6, SEAT J: SOUTH ANCHORAGE, GIRDWOOD, TURNAGAIN ARM
We need to address it from both sides. We need to make it way more difficult to live in our parks with year-round ‘abatement’ in less than 10 days. Too many people feel it’s unsafe to use our parks. Neighborhoods next to our parks suffer an onslaught of crime. This has to stop. For a long term fix, we have to address the problems that lead to people making the tough choice of living in our parks.