Municipality of Anchorage Releases Updated Plan for Homelessness
Fewer adult homeless persons reported in summer 2018
ANCHORAGE—Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced that the 2018 summer count of adult homeless persons in Anchorage is 1,064, an 18 percent drop from the 2017 summer count of 1,304. This annual snapshot-style count uses the same methodology as last summer’s count, providing a standardized data collection process on homeless adults who may not be accessing emergency or social services. The counting process includes a canvas of camps and streets, individuals in shelters, and other locations reported through the Municipality of Anchorage’s (MOA) #AncWorks portal.
The MOA increased its illegal camp cleanup efforts with additional summer staff during the 2018 season. To date this year, more than 217 tons of trash were removed from our parks and along the city's greenbelts. In addition, the MOA tested both a new zone abatement process and a 72-hour notice process. Each of these trials allowed the Municipality to expand the tools needed to quickly and efficiently address camps of highest public safety concern. These new processes will provide data on the code requirement to store personal belongings during a shorter and/or zone notice period, as well as financial estimates to fund a larger illegal camp abatement process for 2019.
“This progress represents a lot of work from partners across the community, and also gives us encouragement as we prepare to implement the Anchored Home plan,” said Mayor Berkowitz. “We will continue to reduce the number of people who are homeless, and to make sure that Anchorage can be a safe, healthy city for all who live here.”
The MOA and its partners also released Anchored Home: 2018-2021, an update of the 2015 Anchorage Community Plan to End Homelessness. A draft of the plan was released for comment in August. Outreach included public forums, community councils, social service providers, homeless persons, business and industry groups, and nonprofit organizations, engaging more than 700 people in the review process. Community input was an essential part of this process and helped influence the document that has been released.
As a result of this public dialogue, the plan evolved to include a fourth pillar, Prevention and Diversion, which will be led by Michele Brown, President and CEO of United Way of Anchorage. The three other pillars of the plan include Housing and Support Systems, which will be led by Jasmine Khan, Executive Director of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness; Public Health and Safety, which will be led by Nancy Burke, Housing and Homelessness Coordinator from the Municipality of Anchorage; and Advocacy and Funding, which will be led by Dr. Richard Mandsager, Sr. Fellow with the Rasmuson Foundation.
Anchored Home is meant to be a document that will change and evolve to meet the needs of the community over time. The team in charge of implementation of the plan will meet with the Homelessness Leadership Council, as well as the general public, to share progress and hear feedback throughout the year. The next public meeting is scheduled to take place on January 9, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wilda Marston Theatre.