Seeking Shelter: Proposed sanctioned camp site miles away from resources

Camp near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is six miles from nearest store
Seeking Shelter: Proposed sanctioned camp site miles away from resources
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 3:58 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Sanctioned Camp Community Task Force is scrambling to determine the locations for five sanctioned campsites that will offer shelter for people during the summer months.

The proposed camps are meant to disperse the number of homeless residents evenly throughout the city, but the plan to locate homeless people in District 3 has been unclear at best.

“There has been a little confusion, even amongst the task force members, about who owned what,” task force leader Caroline Storm said.

That confusion began when the task force stated the land around the Clitheroe Center in West Anchorage was proposed for use as a sanctioned camp. There are two Clitheroe Center locations, but neither is involved in the proposal. The confusion was eventually cleared up and the specific parcel of land was later identified by the task force — a site northwest of the Clitheroe Center near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

“The state owns a chunk of land, the Muni owns 30 acres where currently the municipal composting is happening,” Storm said. “There’s the Clitheroe Center and the Salvation Army is currently providing services out of the Clitheroe Center.”

The proposed camp is a vacant lot near Point Campbell Park at the end of a long, winding road about six miles from the nearest store. The parcel of land is what the municipality calls Section 12. A Carrs supermarket and a small shopping center are the closest place to grab something on the go.

“The main intent there would be for folks who have vehicles so they can get to and from that site and also that it would be dry, as in no alcohol, no drugs,” Storm said.

A 2.5 mile drive past Point Woronzof shows just how far away and isolated this site is from residents and Downtown Anchorage. The camp would be for single adults — only operating during the summer — and would also allow people to live in tents. Tucked in behind the airport and the area’s wildlife, it’s far off the beaten path.

“It’s far away but it’s safe if security is provided,” Storm said.

Security could mean just placing a fence around the area. There’s no word on whether the task force intends to provide utilities to its residents there or not. One thing is clear — this particular sanctioned camp would be the most isolated of them all.