Thank you to the nine legislators who criticized the city for lack of effort in cleaning up homeless camps. By allowing people to camp along our bike trails and behind our neighborhoods, Anchorage has created health and safety risks that just keep on growing. I used to love to bike along the Chester Creek Trail, but now it feels unsafe. The camps also create other safety issues, including the risk of brush fires in the city.
We worry about attracting bears due to garbage cans and bins. What about the food consumed or left in the homeless camps? Bears can smell peanut butter, candy, and french fries. And then there are the health concerns. People have toilet needs, whether there are facilities or not. I can’t imagine how much human waste is around these camps. The camps are filthy, with trash and belongings strung about. People will abandon their tent and belongings and eventually find another place to camp.
Is this how Tony Knowles and the city planners envisioned the greenbelt? I think not. It was supposed to be an Alaska nature escape in the city for all to relax, recreate and enjoy. The best idea I’ve seen presented so far is to create a free campground with outhouses for homeless folks. I understand there are many reasons people end up homeless, that some people do not like the shelters and that we are talking about real individuals. However, it is time to protect our city for all. Notices must be posted at homeless camps giving one day to pack up and leave. If they’re still there the next day, all items should be picked up, bagged and thrown away. If we continue to turn our heads and allow homeless camps in Anchorage, they will continue to multiply.
— Karen Avila-Lederhos
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