Mayor Bronson reacts to unprecedented number of outdoor deaths in Anchorage

APD Says the official count is 29, but the mayor says the number might grow higher as investigations continue
Mayor Bronson reacts to the unprecedented number of outdoor deaths in Anchorage this year.
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 4:41 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson is reacting to the unprecedented number of outdoor deaths in the city.

This year alone, Anchorage police report 29 people who have died outdoors — but other deaths might soon be added to that list.

It’s another example of how the city’s homeless situation is reaching a critical status.

Bronson admits the city is facing a crisis when it comes to homelessness. However, he doesn’t take all the blame for the problem — and says he did everything he could to address the situation.

Bronson says all of the money budgeted to shelter the homeless this winter has already been spent on other efforts like sanctioned camps.

“If they had a shelter, a lot of them wouldn’t be dead right now,” Bronson said. “Why don’t we have a shelter?”

Bronson says that’s why he recently offered to buy people airline tickets to leave Anchorage. He says he has now been forced to take desperate measures since the Anchorage Assembly shot down his idea to build a navigation center on the corner of Elmore Road and East Tudor Road.

“It’s kind of a failure actually,” Bronson said. “Because a shelter would avert all this. That’s the reality. I know it’s political but so be it, you know, I really don’t care. So, I’m just looking for solutions and now my back is against the wall. Go ask the Assembly and go ask the ACEH (Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness).”

Bronson said politics have interfered with the process of helping create a place where people can be sheltered this winter. The situation is even more in flux after he recently eliminated the Sullivan Arena as a future option.

On Friday, the mayor said he was going to visit unsheltered people at East Third Avenue and Ingra Street.