Anchorage’s largest homeless camp has just 10 days to clear out

Morning FastCast Oct. 16, 2023
Published: Oct. 16, 2023 at 4:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Tom Brandimart peeled an orange and watched a small city bus leave the homeless camp at Third Avenue and Ingra Street in Downtown Anchorage.

A handful of people on the bus were being moved to temporary shelters at two hotels in Anchorage.

Asked if he planned to leave as well, Brandimart said he “wasn’t sure yet.”

Starting this Monday, homeless residents have 10 days to leave the encampment or face abatement. Clearing out what was the largest homeless camp in Anchorage began earlier this month when a fire truck, a boat and several cars were towed away, and on Monday, there were noticeably fewer people in the camp than in weeks past.

A man wearing a jacket that said “health department” on the back yelled out names as he walked through the camp. A city parks and recreation crew drove through the camp tossing black bags onto the back of a truck.

Abatement notices, dated Monday, Oct. 16, were already posted on the fences around the encampment this past Sunday. Personal property left in the camp after next week will be removed and either temporarily stored or thrown out, depending on its condition.

The portable bathrooms were removed.

A fire smoldered nearby while jets flying near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson thundered overhead.

Tents topped with blue tarps leaned against old doors and, in one case, appeared to be a porch built at the camp.

Asked how long he’s been living at the camp, Brandimart said, “too long.”

Nearby, a man who asked only for his first name to be used helped a woman out of a tent and onto her wheelchair.

“I haven’t heard nothing about the motels yet,” RJ said.

Richard Behner, who lives at the camp with his girlfriend, said he’s been robbed here three times.

“We’re on a list, but we just don’t, I don’t know what’s going on until I go down there today,” Behner said.

Municipal officials have posted a phone number for people to call to get on the list for winter shelter. That number is 907-865-5329.

City officials say the camp should be closed by Thursday, Oct. 26, but say it could take longer.