March 25, 2023

Did you know that there’s a serious homelessness problem in Alaska?

Residents of one neighborhood in Anchorage, Alaska, are asking their city government for help as homelessness impacts their quality of life.

The Anchorage residents that live near the Sullivan Arena, a city facility that has been repurposed as an emergency homeless shelter this year, are affected the most, according to Alaska News Source.

One community resident who owns a small business in the area of the arena described a dire situation to the local news outlet.

“It’s worse this time around in terms of the needs of the people that are on the street,” SJ Klein said.


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Klein is a member of the Fairview Community Council.

“We’ve seen more death. We’ve seen a lot more fires. Those are the two main life-safety issues that we are facing right now.”

An area behind his business has been deemed “Hangover Hill” on account of the substance abuse occurring in the area, fueled in great part by the homeless.

The homeless aren’t allowed into Sullivan Arena with drugs and alcohol, and thus end up in the local neighborhood.

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An Anchorage charity indicated that it provides support services to as many as 3,000 individuals at risk of homelessness every month, according to KTUU-TV.

That’s not a small portion of the population in a city of less than 300,000.

The homeless took to living in an outdoor camp when the Anchorage city government ended use of Sullivan Arena as a shelter facility this summer, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Residents of Anchorage’s Fairview neighborhood recounted the presence of dead bodies, drug use, trespassing, public exposure and harassment as a result of the city’s inability to manage the homelessness problem that it’s shipped into the neighborhood.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game had to euthanize an entire family of black bears when the animals became accustomed to obtaining food from the outdoor homeless camp.


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Klein told the Anchorage Daily News that opening other homeless shelters would ameliorate the problems that have predominantly affected Fairview.

“If you can put a facility someplace and the city is able to take responsibility for these off-site impacts in a way that they are significantly reduced or don’t exist, then people aren’t going to be so [not in my backyard] about putting a facility in their neighborhood,” the community member said.

The city of Anchorage announced plans to start work on a new homeless shelter in East Anchorage in October, according to the Anchorage Daily News.