Expected colder temperatures cause concern for people living unsheltered in Anchorage

Folder temperatures are a big concern for Anchorage residents experiencing homelessness
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 3:52 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Plunging temperatures predicted for the weekend in Anchorage could make a bad situation worse for people experiencing homelessness. Last week, four unsheltered people died in the city and some fear more will follow.

At the lot next to Cuddy Park, tents and vehicles are covered in deep snow. Some campers said they fear the winter weather that has hit Anchorage so hard.

“People are dying ‘cause they ain’t got heat,” said Andre De’Andre, who owns a blue camper parked on the lot. De’Andre said he routinely lets people stay inside when the weather gets cold.

“I think I had like eight people in there yesterday because some people just don’t have a place to go,” he said. “And I mean I’m not doing any better. I don’t have a lick of food, heat or anything in there ... but it’s better than being outside in the cold.”

De’Andre said he has no interest in going to a shelter because he would have to give up most of his possessions, which he said, at this point mean more to him than staying warm.

Others in the camp said they would consider shelter but didn’t have much information about how to access it. At least one woman said she was on a waiting list, but doubted she would get a call because she didn’t have a phone.

Nathaniel Schmoe said he would definitely prefer to be in a shelter, or at least a warming center when temperatures drop. Schmoe was concerned about the lack of services at or near the camp, including porta-potties which a city contractor removed several weeks ago because the units were freezing. He pointed out that services like the Hope Center and Navigation Center run by Catholic Social Services were close by for people who’d been living downtown.

“And that is sadly, where they kicked everyone out of, downtown, and they moved them here closer to no resources,” Schmoe said.