Task force meets to begin discussion on sanctioned camps for the unhoused

The Municipality of Anchorage Sanctioned Camp Community Task Force kicked off its first meeting on Friday.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 9:05 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 9:07 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Municipality of Anchorage’s new Sanctioned Camp Community Task Force — comprised of people from all walks of life, including retirees, social workers and even members of the Anchorage Assembly — held its first meeting on Friday.

The inaugural meeting heard discussion about what makes a sanctioned camp successful. Themes discussed included safety precautions, basic amenities, and the geographic location of the camps.

Assembly member Felix Rivera said this first meeting was centered around brainstorming ideas to determine the task force’s direction.

“Basically what I’m expecting to happen tonight is for us to look at the different models — and really starting the discussion, it’s our first meeting — and talk about criteria, talk about some guiding questions, what direction do we want to move in. And then, really we are going to be looking at dividing folks into groups to start fleshing out the different models,” Rivera said.

Some of those ideas shared include using prefabricated mini-buildings, repurposing some of the Anchorage School District’s unused portable buildings, and creating a community of tiny homes.

“These are all discussions that we’re having because of the closure of emergency shelter. So, we need an to end that cycle. And so, ending it we saw all other kind of works that we needed to do, from sanctioned camps to behavior health needs. And so we’re having a lot of these discussions hoping to move forward so that come next winter, next summer we are not in this situation again,” Rivera said.

Recommendations for sanctioned camps and other shelter models are due to the Anchorage Assembly on July 6.