Homeless Camps in Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska




The following began as a series of emails that discuss the issue of homeless people living in camps in Anchorage. I was fortunate to be included in this volley of emails.

For the majority of us who are not directly involved with the homeless, the story that unfolds will be a surprise.

Most of the pictures were provided by Ed O'Neill of the Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association (ARBRA)starting in late Spring 2000 to the present.

If you spot a homeless camp, you can call the Beverage Related Trash Hotline 563-3815 ext. 225 or email eoneill@brownjugalaska.com . When 'ID'ing beverage related problems, mark the spot on a map from the phone book or use ALPAR's map. Fax the map to 562-3008 or drop it off at any Brown Jug location, Attention: Ed O'Neill, with your contact information. This should help speed up the process for finding the trashed location.

The trash cleanup is sponsored by the - Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association, Inc. ARBRA's mission is: "No Anchorage Camper Left Behind: Compassion and dignity for cleaner, safer city homeless inhabitants! Basic camping amenities for visitors while enjoying our great land experience."

The group works very efficiently with an annual budget approaching $50,000 funded by several Anchorage liquor stores and associate members. Want to contribute?

There are a few pics sprinkled on this page. To get a real education, check out the Photo Gallery. You will be amazed at the construction of some of these camps!

John Weddleton 317-0222

Date: 12/18/2008
To: ARBRA's Volunteers, Members and Associates

  • Tonnage Clean-up (thanks to Bean's cafe' for the casual labor at $8.00 per hour) An aggressive "ARBRA" effort continues to be made policing clean-up after the street people / panhandling / inebriate problem city wide. Approximately thirty to forty tons of trash (all types)has been picked up & hauled to the dump each year by ARBRA crews, at an annual average cost to members of $25,000 thanks to their generous support. This does not include an equal amount from Brown Jug, Inc. and Anchorage CHARR for the scheduling, managing, accounting costs of running this non-profit program annually.
  • Mouthwash (beverage of choice when refused at area liquor stores) Our efforts to limit &/or cut off sales to those we feel are abusing the product by their behavior has resulted in +/-10% of alcohol related trash being mouthwash. Primary sources are Big Box Stores because of it not being a controled substance. Note the avg. alcohol proof is 20º for Wine, 12º for Ice Beer, 80º for Liquor - Mouthwash is 54º at +/- $2.99 for a 1.5 Liter plastic btl. No law or tax to deal with - pennies on the $ for a most damaging affect. Hand sanitizers are now showing up at 124º proof.
  • Underbrush (thanks to state, city and private owners for clearing permission) Inebriates drinking camps are a serious danger to the campers and the surrounding neighborhood due to behavior and unsightly conditions. The removal of underbrush has proven to be effective. Many areas are being addressed annually along Nature Trails and roadways within the city bowl thanks to member dues & welcome grant dollars. Funds for underbrush removal are needed in two heavily impacked areas. 1st area is Campbell Creek, south of Grumman Street; 2nd is east of Valley of Moon Park along Eastchester Creek. Each is in need of a three acre brush removal at $5,000 per/ac.
  • Panhandlers (thanks to St. Francis House "Tokens for 2 day food supply") Before the panhandling begins on any given day they're being well fed and clothed by this more than generous City and State. When the panhandling starts, they'll receive a sufficient amount of cash in a very short time to fulfill their alcohol needs from motorist with misguided intentions, ending in a devastating result. In order to discourage money for panhandlers, St. Francis food tokens are available at the member's cash-out counters that have Homeless donation jugs. It's also encouraged to supplement the token with a snack food item when panhandlers are in the area. The main focus is a public awareness of not giving cash to solicitors. Food pick-up, 3710 East 20th Ave. (bus route #45). Hrs. Mon,Tues,Thur. 12-3pm.
  • BEVERAGE TRASH HOT LINE addressing the above problems and solutions call Ed @ 563-3815 ext.225

Sincere thanks to all Members, Associates for covering the above costs; for BP's yellow trash bags (over 25,000 each year for ARBRA) and Muni's Fred Fulgencio's Community Work Service Program on trash hauling. Team Spirit For A Safer, Friendlier, Appealing City!
Ed O'Neill / Brown Jug, Inc.

July 7, 2008 Message from Mayor Mark Begich
Midtown Fire Shows Need to Address Homelessness. Last week’s 10-acre fire which started in a homeless camp in the Campbell Creek greenbelt should serve as a wake-up call to Anchorage and Alaska that we all must do more to address the growing homelessness in our community, says Mayor Mark Begich. Thanks to great work by the Anchorage Fire Department and State firefighters, the blaze was contained before it could threaten nearby homes. The mayor says Anchorage has a serious homelessness problem, with 2,200 homeless and nearly half of these families with children. The mayor is calling for increased state funds for affordable housing and alcohol treatment and support of volunteer clean-up efforts such as one initiated by beverage retailers. The city is considering tougher public drinking and panhandling laws.

January 9, 2008
Chronic alcoholic program reports progress. When an apartment building for chronic, homeless alcoholics opened in Seattle at the end of 2005, critics said it would be a waste of public... Full story Copyright (c) 2007 The Seattle Times Company.

Reach of helping hands cut off by a helpless man

"He can't walk. He's crawling. He's urinating all over himself and it's been that way for months," said Bert Temple, who lives in a van with his dog and often visits the campsite at night to play guitar and drink with friends. "He's getting skinnier all the time. Weaker all the time. Thom Blackbird of Homeward Bound, a program for chronic, homeless alcoholics, has visited Jim a couple of times to no avail. Bragg reports that Jim refuses offers for help and with winter coming, friends are afraid Jim will die. "I think he wants to die," he said.

On October 4, Ed O'Neill responded to Bragg's article.

On behalf of all the Jims,

The challenge still facing us is how to tie the short term visible problem of our out of

Use a $40,000+ portion as a ‘Camp Homeless Outreach Team Grant Fund’ via RurAL CAP. This would be an alternative to full-scale camp management; which ARBRA continues seeking public support on. These efforts are not unlike what ARBRA is doing now with some exceptions;

1) A Task Force Technician &/or Homeless Outreach Team members that would be mobilized and in charge of monitoring all camps in the city. With the exception of a Team Captain, Team Members would be compassionate community volunteers.
2) Do monthly camper background checks by working closely with law enforcement, Homeward Bound and the new Muni ‘Homeless Services Forum’?
3) Provide resource information to those in need of help &/or direct resources back to camper.
4) Use pre-signed ARBRA checks or vouchers to accelerate clean camp plus a leg up as needed.
5) Notify ARBRA on immediate issues they observe, i.e.: abandoned camps, underbrush removal, needles, beverage related trash etc...
6) Keep an open dialog with nonprofit agencies, community councils and ARBRA’s hotline (563-3815 ext. 225).

control permanent campers while working on a long term 10 year solution for both the temporary and permanent campers.

Campers are growing each year at a rate more than any reasonable or affordable short term housing plan. There were over one hundred campers last winter and hundreds more this summer and fall. For example, this summer ARBRA cleaned up an encampment (one of more than forty city-wide) across from Brother Francis / Beans Café four times this year (30 more campers have moved back last week). Unfortunately no one appears to notice these unkempt, unmanaged eye sores other than tourists, a few local property owners and the one third (1/3) neat and temporary campers who tip us off about the other cluttered two thirds (2/3).

ARBRA clean up is not a big problem, when there's a need call 563-3815 x225. This is to the tune of $50,000 a year at ARBRAs expense and over 40 tons of material being picked up and bagged thanks to BP for the yellow trash bags at no cost to the city. The problem is this Who are these people? Why do they choose this behavior as a life style? How safe are we not knowing the answers to these questions? If there are bad people camped out illegally a few feet from our families, work places and secluded trails, we need to know who and what were dealing with. This just might have something to do with the fact our Alaska statistics are so bad nationally.

Lets push ourselves away from the desks, go out and talk to these people like Beth Bragg, Thom Blackbird and others have done as caring citizens, businesses and nonprofit agencies of Anchorage, we need to know more about the people camped in the shadows and off our neighborhood trails, what are their backgrounds (document each one) and why are they choosing this lifestyle? We also need this information in a timely week to week, day to day manner, not after something bad has happened.

For those who are displaced and trying to get back on their feet, there is not enough low income housing available and there wont be for years to come. These campers need to have a clean, safe, managed place to camp-out with some basic amenities. They dont feel safe, they are afraid of homeless bashing by young people, women are afraid of being raped by other campers, etc. Its the same year after year and getting worse. There are over 3000 +/- people who are homeless in Anchorage each year trying to get back on their feet. There are 300 + people who end up living on the street and behind the bushes annually. The 300 + are the most visible, the most helpless and dangerous. This is not an exaggeration; ask those serving thousands of meals each day at Beans Café, The Soup Kitchen and The Mission. 

Ed O'Neill
Brown Jug, Inc. / Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association, Inc.
4140 Old Seward Hwy.  

Read some related articles forwarded by Ed: Homelessness and Stuck on the Streets .

Anchorage dollars ($$) support party life style! (Aug. 2006)

  • Muni support needed for a managed Safe & Secure Camp Site.
  • Legislative support needed for Meaningful Intervention using “Title 47” solutions.

Panhandling & an overly generous Public Assistance Program with little to no Managed Intervention for this homeless issue creates a huge liability in our community.

Today: 100,000 plus BP Yellow trash bags used 35 Ton of trash (all types) picked up by ARBRA crew at average annual cost to members of $50,000 thanks to their generous support.

Check out the Photo Gallery for more!

Click that document at the right to read a proclamation from the Alaska Legislature honoring Ed O'Neill and ARBRA.


Anchorage Daily News February 2006

We can all be in awe over the talent and efforts within the Mayor’s Task Force this past year under the watchful eye of Hilary Morgan, Carma Reed and Diane DiSanto. The challenge still facing us is how to tie the short term visible problem of our ‘out of control’ permanent campers while working on a long term 10 year solution for both the temporary and permanent campers.

Campers are growing each year at a rate more than any reasonable or affordable short term housing plan. There are over one hundred campers this winter, and hundreds more in the spring, summer and fall. For example, this week ARBRA cleaned up an encampment (one of more than thirty) across from Brother Francis / Bean’s Café. Unfortunately no one appears to notice these unkempt, unmanaged eye sores other than tourists, a few local property owners and the one third neat and temporary campers who tip us off about the other cluttered two thirds.

ARBRA clean up is not a problem, one call does it for this week; to be repeated to the tune of over 40 tons a year at no cost to the city. The problem is this – Who are these people? Why do they choose this behavior as a life style? How safe are we not knowing the answers to these questions? If there are bad people camped out illegally a few feet from our families, work places and secluded trails, we need to know who and what we’re dealing with. This might have something to do with the fact our statistics are so bad nationally.

Let’s push ourselves away from the desks, go out and talk to these people. As citizens,

businesses and nonprofit agencies of Anchorage, we need to know more about the people camped in the shadows and off our neighborhood trails, what are their backgrounds (document each one) and why are they choosing this lifestyle? We also need this information in a timely week to week, day to day manner, not after something bad has happened.

For those who are displaced and trying to get back on their feet, there is not enough low income housing available and there won’t be for a long time to come. These campers need to have a clean, safe, managedplace to camp out with some basic amenities. They don’t feel safe, they are afraid of homeless bashing by young people, women are afraid of being raped by other campers, etc. There are over 3000 +/- people who are homeless and trying to get back on their feet. There are 300 + people who end up living on the street annually. The 300 + are the most visible and dangerous.

From: Dan Coffey [mailto:dcoffey@eclawfirm.net]
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006
To All:
Let me be the one of the first to proclaim Ed O'Neill is the best private sector/corporate owner in Alaska.

Ed does more public good than anyone else I know. He cleans up camps where public inebriates congregate and, to a large extent, drink mouth wash sold without restraint by Walmart.

He runs his own business (along with Lowell Shinn) in an exemplary fashion to insure that minors and public inebriates do not have access to alcohol.

He is a founder of the Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association which has a code of conduct with regard to the sale of alcoholic beverages which is unsurpassed in the State and, for all I know, the country.

In short, God Bless Ed O'Neill.

I thought you might like to know.
Regards to All,
Dan Coffey, Assemblyman

Please know; our greatest liability is what we don’t know about them. Let’s reduce the liabilities by addressing the problem with some common sense and out-of-the box thinking like the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness has been doing. After six years of policing the camper problem, we’d be happy to share ideas on how to put any available funding for this part of task force solutions to its highest and best use.

Thank You……..ARBRA Please support the ‘ARBRA Clean Up Fund’

---Ed O'Neill

Liquor store owner works to establish legal, secure camps for those in need
By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA, Anchorage Daily News Published: June 26, 2005

Ed O'Neill meets the homeless on their own turf. He treks into the brush and woods around the Anchorage Bowl. He knows the hidden trails and creek crossings. He sloshes through bogs in search of troubled people and their trash. "Do you want help?" he asked a camouflage-clothed man with short-cropped hair, who was rolling a cigarette at a camp in the woods off Third Avenue. Read the full story online.

Signs like the one to the right have been posted at known camp sites in Anchorage for out of town visitors to read and hopefully abide by.

If the 200+ camp sites are clean, quiet, no fires, rapes or fights it's unlikely APD will intervene with over 4,000 acres to patrol.

Clients at Bean's Cafe and Bro. Francis Shelter are making use of the BP Yellow trash bags on a daily basis, which is encouraging. ARBRA has used about 4000 of them so far this year and distributed another 4000 for tent campers to use thanks to BP generous support.

Please keep your fingers crossed for legally managed tent camping areas with toilets etc.. close to downtown and not unlike those in Europe or the lower 48.


From Ed O'Neill May 27, 2005:
Why a Tent City in Anchorage? Thanks to all concerned of Anchorage's ever increasing 'illegal / unsafe Tent City Encampments. It's important to share valuable information Brian Anderson (Social Services Director at Bean's Cafe) brought back from his trip South. Brian's observations where shared at today's ADTP meeting with much interest to say the least.

I hope others will read the following and voice your opinions to our good Mayor on our out of control problem, It only gets worse with each year no matter who's in-charge. Native people are used to practicing their old traditional values, and sleeping out in a tent for shelter instead of a high priced hotel is one of them. The same applies to the lifestyle of our backpack visitors from out of the state.

Cleanliness and safety will follow if the community shows visitors a respectful service oriented place to legally camp.
Ed O'Neill

From Brian Anderson email 5/27/05
Subject: Tent City Info
Per request, here is some additional information about Tent Cities in Seattle and another in Portland called Dignity Village. Dignity Village has a completely different ethos. They hope to create a long-term permanent self-sustained village not a transitional housing idea such as Seattle’s.
Seattle’s Tent City
(click on the Tent City link on the right side)
(church website in support of Tent Cities)
(to have both sides, here is an anti-tent city website run by a Kirkland group)
and if you just google “tent city seattle” you will get a good assortment of links
Dignity Village
There are also some good photographs on these sites.

Let me know if you need anything else and I’ll relay it on to my clients!
Brian Anderson Social Services Director Bean's Cafe PO Box 100940 Anchorage, AK 99510 (907) 274-9595 (907) 277-5251 (fax) andersonbj@ci.anchorage.ak.us

Take a look at a brief documentary of Ed O'Neil's recognition by the Anchorage Assembly for his work on the issue of homeless inebriates.

Ed has gone high tech and is posting more frequent new photos than you'll see at this page. Take a look!

Brown Jug received national recognition when Doctors for Designated Driving awarded them with the Platinum Key of Life Award for Brown Jug's persistent efforts for responsible drinking. A group called Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free recognized this award, too.

You can see from the pictures here that the homeless camp life is not a neat and clean style. For more on Alaska litter prevention click here.

The Anchorage Downtown Partnership is also working for solutions to the problem with inebriates.

HELP FOR THE HOMELESS? Some time ago, the Mayor set up a Task Force charged with developing a 10 year plan to solve the city's homeless problem. That's an audacious goal, but they have actually released an outline for the plan in October 2004. Take a look: http://www.muni.org/cdbg/index.cfm
Here's some info forwarded by Assemblywoman Janice Shamberg October 26, 2004

HOUSING FIRST IS FOCUS OF HOMELESS PLAN A task force appointed by Mayor Mark Begich 10 months ago to address the long-term impacts and solutions for Anchorages homeless population has released a draft report that is now available for public comment. The report sets out a 10-year strategy for dealing with homelessness, founded on a housing first and coordinated services plan to reduce homelessness.

Housing first is a philosophy that assumes assistance for any other aspect of an individual's life will be less successful if he or she is without safe and affordable housing.

The plan presented by the task force says that in 10 years, the homeless in Anchorage will be connected with a way to find safe and affordable housing within three months of being identified as being homeless by a provider.

"I asked the task force to be aggressive, but realistic when it comes to finding solutions to ending homelessness in Anchorage," Begich said. The group has done an excellent job of identifying short and long-term goals and steps that can be taken to make significant progress in helping people find shelter.

The Plan on Homelessness includes action steps and performance measures written for one- three- five- and 10-year time frames to achieve the vision and goals. According to the draft report, implementation of the action steps requires two fundamental changes in the way the Anchorage community approaches homelessness:

· Service providers must change the way they do business to emphasize housing first: This will involve developing the information technology and the willingness on the part of service providers to cooperate with one another to efficiently and effectively address individuals and families housing barriers.

· Planners, funders and policy makers must change their processes and rules to provide information, funding, and requirements that result in housing first: Planners will need to provide real-time feedback to service providers on their performance on an on-going basis. Training on how to participate in the homelessness service provider network will need to be on-going, and a centralized place for maintaining web-based referral and information systems will need to be identified and funded. Funders and policy makers will need to be responsive to the effectiveness of programs and organizations in their contribution to housing first.

The report also calls for the mayor to appoint a five-member Oversight Board to track progress and implementation of the Plan on Homelessness. It also recommends the Oversight Board work with the mayor's office to ensure coordination with state and federal Interagency Councils on Homelessness and with other homeless service providers, advocates and other local entities.

In January, Mayor Begich appointed the 24-member Task Force on Homelessness and charged them with developing a vision for how Anchorage will address homelessness by the year 2015. Working as a subcommittee of the Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) Commission, the Task Force was made up of homeless and formerly homeless people, representatives from non-profit agencies, public safety personnel, businesses, the school district, government officials and charitable foundations.

In preparing its report the Task Force met once a month and four sub-groups met several times each. Those sub-groups focused on the issues of housing, targeted case intervention, public policy, and information management.

The draft plan was made available to the public on Oct. 8, 2004. A public hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 26, 2004 in the Mayor's Conference Room. The Task Force will then present the final report to the Anchorage Assembly and the Mayor during a December 2004 work session.

Trash Camps and Homeless in Far North Bicentennial Park

Far North Bicentennial Park was set aside decades ago to be left primarily as a wild and natural place. It gets less natural all the time, but there are piles of evidence of lots of wild parties!

A joint effort with ARBRA, Friends of Bicentennial Park , MOA Parks Department and others will clean up these trash piles and camps on the north side of the Park.

IThese pictures were taken late July 2004 at the north side of FNBP. The rolled black tubing is a 3 min jog from Substation E end of Tudor, maybe a 6 minute walk. Heading south on the dirt road on the east side of the substation, go left/straight where it forks. When there's a clearing on the right, take the narrow trail to the left into the woods. There is a variety of small camp remnants in there. Continue on the twisting trail heading south.
The tent and big pile of trash is just south of the substation a few hundred feet. Heading south on the road on the east side of the substation, go right at the fork. Maybe 50 feet along, take the narrow trail into the woods. The tent is 50 feet or so west of the pile of trash.

At the end of July, there was a man living in the tent. He had a sad story of jobs lost, time living in hotels, trouble with girlfriends and a March move into this tent.


email from Ed Oneill to John McCleary, MOA Parks Department 8/02/04

Thanks John & those concerned.

We'll get on it this Wed. at 5pm for a serious clean-up if you'll unlock the gate. I'll have four people, one from Brown Jug & 4 from Beans cafe. Maybe some media coverage too, so people can see the scope of the problem and how far reaching the "dump it anywhere" attitude is from inebriates in this "All America City". This is small compared to most of the 60+ Hot Spots from Huffman Rd. all the way North to Fort Rich. But it's sad to see street people with 3 or 4 tons of waste moving in on our pristine Bicentennial Park.

The worst is what we have going on right under our noses downtown. Three dozen folks passed out or sleeping in the town square most afternoons. (What's not wanted in the Rural Alaska or lower 48, we get year round with little or no consequences). Ask Chris at the Brewhouse about the effect the panhandling inebriate lifestyle is having on our tourist trade (to say nothing of people defecating right outside the restaurants rear door) if you want to understand the seriousness of this.

Thanks again for your help, John.

Only Liquor Stores & Bars supporting this area wide Clean-up deserve your beverage alcohol business. If you see a Liquor Store or Bar serving these panhandling inebriates, please tell them you're taking your business elsewhere. The same goes for mouthwash into the "wrong" hands coming out of big box stores. The management of these stores tell us they are refusing to sell mouthwash to the inebriates, yet we are picking up hundreds of mouthwash bottles in their camps. Are they all stolen? If they are really refusing service to inebriates, the following should be posted in their stores:

The only thing that's changed with these street drunks in the last 20 years is that it has gotten worse than we ever could have imagined.

They want to hit the liquor industry with another tax that will supposedly take care of all the problems associated with alcohol. There has been no improvement since the tax increase in 2002. Self policing is a far better answer than the do-nothing bureaucratic hand-wringing and costly studies. One can not legislate morality.

It's time for the business community of Anchorage to show meaningful answers. Hence PISST (Private Industry Strategies & Solutions Team) - Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd., Anchorage CHARR, Alaska CHARR, ARBA, and anyone else that wants to get serious about panhandling street inebriates trashing our city, plus their in-your-face demanding alcohol money.

So join up or move over while we take charge and make a real "Change for the Better":

Some examples of what's in place - what's to come :

In place: (share your idea's)

  • 587 Emergency shelter beds
  • 26 Programs that offer food
  • 15 Support Service Agencies
  • 10 Alcohol Drug Programs & * 6 Mental Health Agencies
  • No Panhandlers in roadway only
  • $1,000 Civil penalty to minors on Lic. Premise
  • $1,000 Civil penalty if purchase for minor
  • Donation Jugs in Liquor Stores for Homeless
  • Free CSP cab service when you over indulge
  • Free Meals 3 time a day
  • Free Clothing, Blankets, Backpacks etc. to use & discard

To come: (share your idea's)

  • No Loitering (with real meaning)
  • No Trespassing area wide
  • Use Title 47 with Due Diligence
  • Hold the Authorities Accountable
  • No littering (with real meaning)

* * * Ed O'Neill Brown Jug, Inc./ President, Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailer Association, Inc. (ARBRA)


Spring of 2004 and there's still a community living outdoors. There are some new pics from early 2004 at the photo gallery.


From: Ed Oneill
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003
To: Fr. Garry Cappleman, O.P.
Subject: RE: RE: broken glass and lives on trail

Dear Fr. Garry, Because of our direct involvement with the homeless issue, I would like to get with you and jointly visit a few agencies and review studies, programs etc. The lack of real life solutions to the situation is causing 30 to 40 of these "dual diagnosis" folks to die each year. The large number of mouthwash bottles collected indicates liquor stores are doing their job of refusing the purchase. Our organization has retrieved over 21 tons of trash (all types) from unsightly camps in the cities parks and neighborhoods this year alone.

I feel your involvement would be of great interest to the community as you worked socially in Anchorage before becoming the priest at Holy Family Cathedral. Looking forward to whatever time you can allow and I ask others to contact either of us for more discussions on this never ending dilemma that's facing our city.

Most Sincerely Ed O'Neill

From: Fr. Garry Cappleman, O.P.
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003
To: Ed Oneill Subject: RE: RE: broken glass and lives on trail
Dear Ed,
I wonder how many of the chronically intoxicated homeless are also chronically mentally ill. Many of them I fear are "dual diagnosis" suffering from a variety of mental illnesses in addition to alcoholism. A number of them seem to be suffering from serious emotional trauma.

I am afraid of solutions that call for removing the homeless. I am afraid it will lead to a solution calling for forcibly warehousing the mentally ill homeless. I am afraid that solutions not carefully thought out might only set us up for another scandal down the road with the mentally ill being treated inhumanely in an institution, only out of sight--and out of mind. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" chronicled the sorry state of many state run institutions given the responsibility of treating the mentally ill in the 1950's and 1960's. Many of these institutions were chronically underfunded and poorly staffed and not carefully monitored. The result was horrific conditions and physical and sexual abuse of mental patients. It was a widespread problem throughout the United States.

Unfortunately, we dumped the mentally ill on the streets. Now, many of them are homeless and/or jail and prison. I would like to meet with social agencies in Anchorage who work with the chronically mentally ill and homeless. I think that an honest discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of current programs to assist this population would help.

We first need to know the extent of the problem. As awful as trashing up parks and making park use risky, I fear that efforts to alleviate these problems may result in methods that abuse and harm those homeless who are struggling to survive with what little resources they may have. The needs and feelings of others impacted by homeless alcoholic and mentally ill should be considered. But, the solutions must actually work to a solution of the problem for homelessness for alcoholics and mentally ill--not simply removing them from sight.

I would love to meet to discuss these needs and problems. Do you know of others who would be interested in addressing this, too. I will see what I can find out in with those more familiar with social services in Anchorage area. God Bless! Fr. Garry

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003
To: Ed Oneill Subject: keeping in touch
Hello MR. O'Neill,
I just wanted to thank you personally for the work that you're doing in the community! I would like to present to ARBRA a certificate of appreciation to your organization for helping to keep Mt.View cleaned up.I want to present this at our next meeting November 10th at the Boys and Girls Club, starts at 7:00 p.m..

I have been given notice of another place to look at and will be in contact with you on that as soon as I take a look at it. To let you know about the snow dump sights here , they are marked with " NO TRESPASSING " signs , this might be an aid in which to remove individuals from those particular areas. Please feel free to contact me if there is anything else I can do for you. Thanks again for making Anchorage a beautiful place to live. Mr. Kerry Hawkins

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003
Bonnie L. Jack
Ed -- EXCELLENT reply! Who is this person anyway? I notice no name within email address and no name at the end of the message. Also, all homeless people are NOT Alaska Native, either. Plus many, if not most Alaska Native people are very successful, in the lives, their families and when it comes to money. Just look at the success of all the NATIVE corporations. B/

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003
Dear raediate@alaska.net,
You obviously are of high intellect and have given this a lot of thought, so please suggest any real life solutions to the situation.

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003
Hello, fellow helpers--
Unfortunately, there is a broader social problem involved with chronic homeless inebriates. We grew up in a society based on Puritan ethics and protestant work ethics - i.e., "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you can do anything you want to do." Or, "if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything." Honestly, this may have worked 100 years ago, but times have changed.

Is it an egalitarian society? I think not. Is it a 'just world'? I think not. If a person subscribes to the 'just world' phenomena, it's just one jump to assume that 'you get what you deserve and deserve what you get.' Therefore, homeless alcoholic Alaskan natives deserve to suffer, deserve what they get, deserve to live miserably, forced into institutions. Do you really believe that's true? How absolutely untrue!

No, this country is not what it used to be. There are no longer the opportunities to exceed our fathers' and forefathers' positions---if, indeed, we measure success in terms of our own cultural worldview -- financial success. . . money.'

Perhaps our compassion would be better served if we accepted the different cultural values before us. Not everyone measures success in terms of ownership, material wealth, money. We have displaced an entire race of peoples -- the native tribes of Alaska -- and we need to be compassionate. Very compassionate. Compassionate about humanity and people who have experienced an incredibly swift demise of their own culture and history. They deserve respect, even if they have come to a place which renders them homeless, without resources so important to western civilization, drunk on the alcohol brought to them by western invaders (heretofore never experienced).

Do we have a responsibility to encourage them to thrive in their own native culture? Absolutely. Do we have the right to judge and condemn them? Absolutely not. Let us understand compassion in its truest sense.


Sent: Monday October 20
Tim, Thanks.
ARBRA has a stack of 9 bags in the Taku/Campbell parking lot as of 2pm 10/17 for Fred's Muni crew to pick-up. We'll address the other end of the Trail next Tuesday. Good job pointing out the problem spots on your part of the Trail! The community applauds you, please keep the feedback coming.

Some other points of interest on and off the Trails;

1) Steps at 15th Ave and A Street, 6 bags stack for Muni pick-up 10/17.

2) 11 Sleep Over drinking camps discovered across from the Lions Park in Mt.View and in the wooded area on the East side of Reeve Blvd. heading toward Ship Creek.

These areas have been reclaimed by homeless after a huge clean up just six weeks ago. Only 3 of the camps are livable, the others are Trash Heaps of abandoned (good at one time) personal affects that have laid in the open for weeks. 3) Over a dozen Drinking Trash Heaps (left by inebriates) are back North and West of the Old Native Hospital site between Viking Dr. & 3rd Ave. Just 4 weeks ago this area was completely cleaned by ARBRA.

The sad part for our crew is that we are criticized by Social Agencies after they hear one or two mentally challenged inebriates complaining of their disappearing moldy mess. I'll try to coordinate a camp visit with Social Agencies and the complainers before the above camps are touched. Now that they are I.D.'d they can see the big picture from those of us in the trenches.

You may think things are improving but that's not what it looks like hidden off the Trails in the city's underbrush. Over 30 Mentally challenged visitors to Bean's Cafe and Bro. Francis shelter in the last 18 months have died. What's happening is as basic as it is in New York, L.A. or any other Metropolitan area like Anchorage, where substance abusers are enabled and left to their own devices.

One solution is "Title 47" which addresses many of these problems by giving persons like judges, physicians, and the like, the power to commit these people for their own safety and that of others too. The ACLU, many persons in the judicial system, and other like-minded persons and organizations will not allow the use of this law (which is already on the books but seldom used). Many of these forgotten street people can't or shouldn't be making their own decisions because they've lost the ability to reason after years of abuse and living a futureless lifestyle.

To really be compassionate, one should consider taking a closer look at the problem first hand, as we do, and then if the lives and the mess that is created by these poor lost souls means anything, tell the powers that be to use a little commonsense along with "Title 47", instead of just talking about it and blaming the lack of effort on a slowing economy. Otherwise, you can count on another two dozen or so premature deaths by this time next year.

The goal, as I see it now, is to simply move this assortment of homeless campers and chronic inebriates away from the Trail system that necessitated the Trail Watch program. We'll do this as we've always done (when necessary) with a 24 hour "APD" managed notice to vacate. Those that are now located Northeast of Downtown and Southeast of Mt. View will remain out of harms way to the City Trails as long as the system will allow. ARBRA will visit these sites every two weeks and set an example by clean up unsightly debris compassionately and leaving shelters, personal materials and the mentally challenged alone. We'll leave the rest to our community minded experts (those on the receiving end of our tax dollars) to deal with.

Suggested study - "Which Brain Do You Want?" video www.mindworkspress.com
Ed O'Neill
Brown Jug, Inc. / Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association, Inc. 4140 Old Seward Hwy. Anchorage, Alaska 99503 (907) 563-3815 x225 Cell (907) 240-1818 Fax (907) 562-3008 eoneill@brownjug.alaska.net

Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003
From: Tim Woody
Subject: broken glass on trail
Ed, Thanks for your attention on the Taku Lake parking lot area. I noticed last night that their is a fair amount of broken glass on the Campbell Creek Trail just down the hill from the Dimond/Victor intersection and behind the Hanna Car Wash. There is more glass on the north side of the trail bridge at the bottom of the hill. I see a fair amount of broken bottles in that area, which I suspect come from the Fred Meyer store on the other side of Dimond. I'll watch and try to let you know whenever it's a problem.
Tim Woody

Saturday, October 04, 2003
Thanks for pointing out the inebriate camp behind Metro Furniture store. It was a big one that will need another day to clean up. So far we've found 42 mouth wash bottles in one area that you alerted us too.

I'm assuming they were stolen from midtown big box stores as I can't imagine clerks selling them to these obvious panhandling street drunks. This is now the beverage of choice as we are talking about a liter bottle at $1.94 of 57 proof alcohol which is pennies on the dollar without any alcohol tax involved.

Safeway Carrs removes theirs off the shelf after 10 pm as they are open 24 hrs., Wal-Mart moved theirs by the prescription window to help cut down on shrink.
Thanks Again
Ed 240-1818

From: Harriet Drummond
Date: Wed Oct 1, 2003
Subject: Re: Homeless camp in area across from Montessori school
Hello all: Some time ago, North Star Elementary got help from a class of forestry students (I think that was the subject area!) from King Career Center who helped “lift the skirts” on the trees on the hill behind the school and around the infamous stairs.

I have cc’d this email to Myrna Moulton, North Star’s principal, so she may tell us who to contact at KCC. I see on their website they have a horticulture and landscaping class – that may be it. It would be great to get the help of a bunch of teenagers plus they get credit for the work! Harriet

Date: Wed Oct 1, 2003
From: Ed Oneill Subject:
RE: Homeless camp in area across from Montessori school and long Trail System
Our best source for under brush clearing is to start with APD Sgt. Denny Allen. I'll follow through with him for a schedule on man power and a chipper. The plan is to do a 100' by 100' area with 6 +/- crew members and set priorities as needed. Please use this contact info for Ed:

Date: Wed Oct 1, 2003
To: Ed O'Neill
Subject: Homeless camp in area across from Montessori school and along Trail System
Hi Ed,
I left a message but thought I'd email you as well. There is a homeless camp across from the Montessori school at the bottom of Romig Hill (where Spenard is about to join Minn. Bypass). Barbara Smart, who owns the property above them has regularly called in when one P.I. in particular comes around. He gets picked up but is back in no time. She is concerned for her daughter and the kids at the school, as he has a record of assault.

I'd like your assistance in taking up the branches of the trees to about 10' off the ground in that area. I know you've been involved in that kind of project before and your help would be greatly appreciated. If it is done on the weekend, I know some of the North Star Community Council would help.
Thanks, Sam Rose.

Sent September 30, 2003
From Ed O'Neill
A lot is being addressed now through the City's community "Trail Watch" -
Trail Report: http://www.muni.org/mayor/trailwatch.cfm )
Headed up by - Heather Handyside, HandysideHM@ci.anchorage.ak.us Municipality of Anchorage 632 W. 6th Avenue, Suite 850 Anchorage, AK 99501 (907) 343-4546

Hopefully hundreds of volunteers will post feedback of unsafe conditions viewed from or on the trails. Many of the Panhandler's Drinking Camps are close to the trail system, as seen in the photo album of ARBRA's clean up efforts.

John, we look forward to sharing ARBRA's summary of this on-going problem when you can find the time. Please know since the Trail Watch began Sept.15th 2003, our city and it's neighborhoods are much safer and also more attractive after ARBRA removed over 15 tons of trash from the park and trail areas of Anchorage during the past nine months.
Ed O'Neill

Sent July 31, 2003
I am concerned about the recent incidents of assault and intimidation on the local trails. I have also been concerned about the appearance of unsafe conditions on the greenbelt trails, especially in areas such as near the Sullivan Arena and Valley of the Moon Park.To a lesser, but no less distressing extent, I have heard safety concerns about the Campbell Creek Trail running east from Lake Otis toward Bragaw.

With those personal and constituent concerns in mind I was very happy to see the following e-mail message today announcing that the new Administration seems to be making trail user safety a major concern. I plan to be there Tuesday to learn more and offer my support for public safety in any way possible. I hope you will plan to be there too.
Doug Van Etten Anchorage Assembly

Anchorage trail safety meeting
There will be a trail safety meeting Tuesday August, 5th from 12:15-1:00 at the Mayor's conference room on the 8th floor in City Hall. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce a new proposal that will give citizens and community groups an enhanced role in municipal trail safety. In addition to other trail users and community groups, staff from the Mayor's office will attend. Everyone is welcome to this meeting.

Sent Sunday July 20, 2003
From: Doug Van Etten
Tent City in Seattle gets article in Post Intelligencer Please take a look at one more way to deal with DOME of our homeless Tent City in Seattle gets article in Post Intelligencer Please take a look at one more way to deal with DOME of our homeless http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/129931_tentcity08.html

May I please suggest that you take a look at the value Seattle has found in providing for one more form of service for those in need. It is most impressive too that a tent city does two things many other services do not do: It saves the municipality and social service providers $$$ because it needs to be largely self-supporting after some seed $$ It allows for campers to have a measure of safety, dignity and continuity that a life in the woods does not provide.

I would be the last one to call a city-sanctioned camp "the" answer to our homeless problem. I see it as one more tool among the many along the continuum of services and care.

Sent Sunday July 13, 2003
Ed -- I completely agree with you and Dan Coffey. As a single woman who likes to walk and refuses to give it up, I realized I have to give up walking on the bike trails "in the woods." I only feel safe walking on those bordering the streets. Social workers and elected officials being taking on tours is a great idea. The fast food places should participate with you of ARBRA in the clean up mess. I would like maybe a formal invitation of Wal-Mart management would not be a bad idea as well. B/

Sent Sunday July 13, 2003
To Anyone listening, I'll second that challenge, Dan.

Along with ALL those that have dared to walked 20' off OUR unsafe paved trails. If they only knew what was going on just out of eye sight. No single person should ever use the city trail system. I've documented it with hundreds of pictures that are here at my office at the Brown Jug Warehouse store if anyone really cares to get the HELL scared out of them.

ARBRA has removed 15 TONS of their debris since January 2003. That's got nothing to do with the city wide clean-up we're all so familiar with. We need daily tours through the bushes by a hand full of officers kicking butt, not just one(when time allows) for a city with this many problems - this size. That would give an update to add to the 30 years of bureaucratic ($$ do little) studies. All city paid social workers should spend 4 hours each month away from their desks in the woods focusing on this issue (triple that, as I do while trying to run a business) at no additional cost to the city. Thanks for telling it like it is, Dan! Ed

Sent July 12, 2003
To All:
The volunteer village concept may work for a few of the street people who want to get off the street. However, the vast majority of these individuals either don't want to or because of their addictions, cannot get off the street. If we want to deal with the public inebriate, we need to confine and treat them. They are the most chronic of alcoholics. They have lost the capacity to help themselves. We, as a society, must decide whether or not we are going to tolerate their behavior (drinking, defecating, sleeping, copulating, trashing, etc) in our public places. I do not believe we have to tolerate this.

I also believe that, if we are willing to devote the resources to the problem, we can get these individuals off the street and confined in a place where there is some chance that a few may recover from their addiction. In the twenty-five years that I have been involved in these types of discussions, we have never taken a comprehensive approach to this problem. Those things we have done, really amount to enabling the public inebriate to continue his or her behavior.

l We feed them. We provide shelter. We provide medical treatment. We allow them to camp in our parks with only private enforcement. We provide them with money through the welfare system and the PFD. In short, we do nothing to truly help them, we simply enable them. Even worse, we then blame the package stores for selling alcohol and demand that they "fix" the problem. When the package stores respond, as they have done in ways that no other segment of society has responded (clean up crews, campaigns to stop panhandling, cooperative efforts by the stores to keep one another informed of effective techniques, etc., etc), the public inebriate turns to Mouthwash which is sold by Wal-Mart in large jugs to the public inebriates and which continues to do so despite efforts by the package store owners to have them stop.

How much do you think the CSP costs? Or Bean's Cafe? Or the Shelters? Or cleaning up our parks? Or the disruptions to our businesses? Or the dangers to our children? Or the damage these public inebriates do to themselves and to each other? Compare those costs to how much good is done, defining good as helping these lost souls and solving the public inebriate problem. I suggest that we haven't done a damn bit of good. In fact, I believe our actions have made the problem worse. Therefore, I believe that new solutions are in order. Finally, I believe that nothing will be done, but that we'll continue to talk about this problem for another 25 years because I have yet to hear one public official who is willing to squarely address the problem.

In conclusion, I would love for someone to show me where I am wrong about these things and that somewhere, someone is dealing with this very intractable problem. I am all ears.

Regards to all, Dan Coffey

Sent July 11, 2003
From Ed O'Neill
Hi Debe,
May best guess is 40 cooperative adults a night once the word gets out, x $6.00 p/person = $240. p/day x 30 days = $7,200 month. This includes shower & toilet.

The other 100 +/- "one way ticketed" visitors from the Alaska Bush Villages or panhandling inebriates will be sought after and ticketed for camping on private or public property by APD (they ticketed six a couple nights ago along side of Ship Creek Landing RV Park). The more tickets they get the more social help they'll be able to receive (that's the way the system works). Hence the more pressure put on them to seek help and change their ways; the better our community will be.

If that's not enough, just wait for the economy to turn around so we can lock them up under title 47 for 6 months in hopes of saving their lives in the short term. Isn't it nice knowing someone with all the answers. ha, ha

Let's look for positive little steps to fix the problem instead of studying it to death.

Ed (66 years of Anchorage hindsight)

From: Debe Mahoney [mailto:dmahoney@akanhs.org]
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003
how do they handle drinking or drug use in the Dignity Village? It appears this is an answer for the handful of folks that wish to live together cooperatively with some rules. How many homeless folks do we have that are willing to do that?

Having been on the mid-town bike trails since early spring, I worry that too many folks won't want a "controlled" living situation.


From: Ed Oneill [mailto:eoneill@brownjug.alaska.net]
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003
Subject: RE: Re: Homelessness and camping in hidden public and private lands
Doug you're a blessing to this community! , Excellent info to help with our "one way ticketed" visitors from the Alaska Bush Villages.

Please put Jim Crockett of Bean's Cafe beanscafe@gci.org ; Marti Bradley alaskashield@gci.net & Sgt. Dennis Allen APD dallen@ci.anchorage.ak on this email list as we're researching the back-packers camp site. Thanks Doug for sending Bill Burke (homeless under bridge at Peanut Farm), doing a great job for all of us at ARBRA etc.. Ed O'Neill

Fri, 11 Jul 2003
From: Tent City
Subject: Re: Homelessness and camping in hidden public and private lands
Hello Doug Van Etten of the Anchorage City Council (or AK Assembly as you would say) and you might well be right about there being no easy answers to a growing social phenomenon and problem.

In Portland during the nineteen years of the camping ban, $270,000,000 was thrown at the problem while the homeless population quadrupled. We now have many treatment facilities including jails to treat homelessness but little affordable housing which is not profitable to build and for people living in the 0-30% income bracket, the market mechanism where demand is supposed to lead to supply seems to be broken. Gentrification leads to displacement and the local businessmen's' association, the APP, want the homeless population out of sight and out of mind.

To the APP's credit, at least Portland doesn't have death squads yet of off-duty policemen taking out the homeless youths a la Rio de Janero! I'd be happy to add you to our email list for the periodic update.

There are elected officials like Commissioner Eric Sten, city staffer Marshall Runkel, Heather Lyons and Molly Rogers of the Bureau of Housing and Human Devilment, all good people who work on or around the issues of housing and homelessness and all of whom Iman copy this reply.

Best of luck in dealing with a complex issue and stay in touch.

Yours truly,
Jack Tafari
Chairman. Dignity Village, Inc. http://outofthedoorways.org

vanetten@alaska.net wrote:
We have an element in our community of Anchorage, Alaska that want the street people/ panhandlers as they refer to them, out of sight, out of the woods and out of town - unless they are going to be in indoor shelters or treatment facilities. I see by your history that there are no easy answers Portland and as a city council member here I am sure finding there are many nay sayers and no easy answers here.

Please add me to any e-mail updates you have. Please put me in touch with any elected officials who have taken the lead in Portland to help the homeless deal with their issues. I understand the issues are many, complex and in many cases unique to the individual.

Sent Thursday July 10, 2003
From Doug VanEtten
Subject:Fascinating web site covering Portland's "Dignity Village"
Might this be a model for some of Anchorage's homeless? http://www.outofthedoorways.org/

Sent June 23, 2003
My turn:
I have pondered this concept and keep coming back to my initial gut instinct; I do not see this camp idea being either wise or successful.

First of all, as many claim they do not like our social structure or rules (non-compliant); why would they want to check in to the controlled camp voluntarily and even pay to participate? If it turned out to be such a good deal, fees being waived, etc, then I see it would become a magnet attraction to our major hub city- from all the bush towns across (but not limited to) the state.

As to camping in the city, there are already legitimate campgrounds or hostels with rules and toilets already. 'Free camping' in any group of trees where they can party would still be more the draw.

All this still does not deal with the real problems of addiction and unacceptable behavior. What they need are consequences; enough to make them want to change their ways- otherwise no amount of efforts we exert will fix anything. Consistently enforcing the laws they break and incarcerating them, may be their best opportunity to get the long term live-in treatment they need to bring any consciousness or improvements to their lives and future.

Many of these people have more income, resources and assets than I do. I am not into rewarding inappropriate behavior because of their preferences. Continued support of the charity organizations already in place I feel, would be one of the best ways we can help resolve this problem. With enough, eventually they could build more 'effective shelter' with treatment available as is needed year round.

There are no quick or cheap solutions. Look into grant money for the cause. Thank you,
B Brenda Smart
Chair, Spenard Community Council

Sent June 19, 2003
From Ed O'Neill
Dear Fred Fulgencio,
Thanks for the quick response to this unsightly mess behind the Loussac Library . We need the powers-that-be to jump on board and help with solutions instead of passing the buck.

As we all know, the problem continues to worsen with pennies on the dollar mouthwash becoming the beverage of choice. (Thanks to ARBRA for not serving alcohol to public inebriates or panhandlers). Let's hope 19,020 pounds of trash from a one of 60+ drinking camps in "Beautiful (Curb Side Dollars For Alcohol) Anchorage" gets someone's attention. Ed O'Neill Brown Jug, Inc.

From: Fulgencio, Fred R. [mailto:FulgencioFR@ci.anchorage.ak.us]
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Subject: E 40th Trash
Total weight pickup at E 40 project your people did is 19, 020 pounds of trash. Cost for disposal is $428.05 which I took care of. Channel 13 News showed up and there may be something on TV tonight.



Sent Tuesday June 17, 2003
Mr.. Rick Ridel KENI Radio,
Low -life, panhandling, street drunks are just that and have little or nothing to do with the homeless/transient, back packers camping park that we're talking about! It would be a controlled and self supporting camp that puts 25% of the more responsible persons in the woods and out of harms way and would not accommodate the drinking camp type, mentally challenged souls.

We could really use your help and ideas on this costly eye sore of public inebriates . Please think "Out of the box" like the true "Conservative" you are and help the rest of us put these mentally challenged people in a place that will be a positive experience for them as well as the rest of our community.

Those who label it as someone else's problem, are the true "Enabler's". Why? Because everything remains status quo, letting them do as they wish with the wooded areas (public and private land), flaunting their life style when and where they choose for all to see, with no respect for the community. Why? Because the community "Enabler's" think the problem will go away eventually when they reach bottom. "Enabling" is giving cash to be used for alcohol or its counterpart, the ever popular mouthwash from the big box stores. "Enabling" is not enhancing &/or enforcing laws that are already on the books with a city government that is doing nothing to curb and deter this problem or come up with solutions to a very real and growing situation here in Anchorage.

Charity is a small part of the "Enabling" buzz. You're a very intelligent person, yet what I hear you saying is, "Be a good Conservative by doing or giving nothing to them", thus no consequences. Mentally challenged public inebriates need help. If they're endangering themselves and others, lock them up by using title 47 in the same manner they were 30 years ago or more at "The City Farm" out by the airport before the Liberals let them loose to stay drunk.As before - 6 months of a sober, community service environment, whether they like it or not, working for the community and working on themselves. I recall the growing of agriculture, shoveling snow, cleaning the community parks, learning what their parents didn't teach them, being productive citizens and making the institution as self sufficient as possible as it was in the 50's and 60's.

By the way, the drinking camp behind our Loussac Library that the "Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association, Inc." (privately) cleaned up at a expense of $2,000.00 last week amounted to 8 1/2 tons of debris not counting the stolen scaffolding from Lowe's! Where do we go from here?
Ed O'Neill

Ed -- It is obvious from your years of work and your brief words you are a caring, kind considerate person who knows a lot more than most about this homeless situation. Too many people stand back or better yet, sit in their offices, and make long speeches. Thanks for all your hard work and your words of wisdom. I just hope someone in the position of power, listens!
Bonnie Jack North Star CC.

Ed Oneill wrote:
Can't imagine our assembly members not supporting Dan Sullivan's Panhandling Ordinance number 2003-57 and 2003-87 after all the suggested changes that where incorporated. This is a big first step in cutting off Public Inebriates alcohol funds. Please fax or e-mail your support to all our assembly members for this first real effort, do this today.
Thank you, Ed

Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003
From: Sullivan, Dan [mailto:SullivanD@ci.anchorage.ak.us] >
Subject: RE: Re; Panhandling
We didn't get to the panhandling ordinance last night because the community council boundaries took so long. It looks like June 24th will be the next opportunity to get this passed. This is okay by me because I still think that some members are not supportive of 2003-57 although they might support the simple change to title 9 that I proposed in 2003-87.

If they don't pass the first one, it will mean the end to the "fill the boot" campaign that the firefighters conduct for MDA. The delay gives me time to contact both groups and get them to show up on 6/24. Thanks for all your help. If you talk to any Assembly members, try to get them to definitely commit to voting yes on both ordinances. I have incorporated all of the suggested changes that were brought forth in the work sessions, so there is really no reason for members not to be supportive.

Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003
From: Ed Oneill
Subject: RE: Homeless camps
Dear Fay Von Gemmingen, Dan Coffey, etc.,
Being directly involved with the issue for years, as Jim Crockett and a few others of us have, helps us to understand the problem in a more realistic way. I've yet to see any intervention, in the woods despite what various agencies say, unless it's at CSP drop off - only the cold hard reality of continual drinking.

To put it simply, my best guess is an average of 100 illegal campers could be roaming the woods off our neighborhoods and trails on any given night. That's a year -round best guess scenario from personal experience (and it now takes in the whole city bowl).

*25 to 30 would love to use our thoughtful convenient camp with a fee attached for the amenities as opposed to (for whatever reason) the Brother Francis Shelter.

**Another 25 to 30 are from outlying communities and come to Anchorage between seasonal jobs that aren't there for them or they were fired from because of alcoholism and drug addiction - to prey on our generosity (panhandling) and unrestricted community controls.

The balance (40 to 50) are ACLU alumni that are befriending the last category for their ability to obtain alcohol and truly are in need of a 6 mos. mandatory institutionalization program to help them stay alive in the short term, which is what Title 47 is for (if anyone would care to use it).

These are monthly / weekly dead and rape victims that go unnoticed by most of our community. It's our goal to make *camping a viable complimentary addition for backpackers visiting Anchorage. Backpacking visitors who need a safe, legal and temporary place for a short stay before moving on to enjoy the wonders of our state etc..

First thought would be the old Native Hospital site of 4+/- acres already fenced in and secure. Guests would be provided a specific camp area, central toilet / hot shower plus a camp monitors office, all self-supported for $6.50 fee per night, (tent provided $12.00).

This would be a model for what camping in the Anchorage bowl should be (by example instead of empty words), anything else will not be tolerated in the city bowl. With proper intervention, people from the second category above can be shown the benefits of a clean, friendly, and legally controlled camp from time to time with a hands-on approach by caring monitors, the encouragement of peers and friends.

Another idea is section the city's problem areas off and have retirees from our seniors in the community volunteer to go out and get acquainted with the above. Experience as shown me you can make a difference in these peoples lives by caring through your friendship and talking at them rather then down to them. I know one thing it's easy to save a life or two if you're persistent.
Ed O'Neill

Sent June 9, 2003
To All:
Based on what Sgt Allen writes,I think the concerns I voiced earlier may be valid. While alcoholism is not a choice, to practice their drinking in Anchorage while panhandling for money and camping in our parks, is nothing this City needs to tolerate. Nor do we need to spend scarce resources (the public is about to find out how scarce very shortly) on a City sponsored, maintained and paid for Controlled Camp.
Dan Coffey

Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003
From: Allen, Denny[mailto:dallen@ci.anchorage.ak.us]
Subject: RE: Homeless camps
TO ALL: I made contact with 6 "homeless" folks in 3 camps on 6-4-03. Each camp I contacted, alcohol containers were present. I asked each person in the camp where they were from and all were from outside Anchorage. I asked why they were in Anch and 3 said to sell carvings. When I asked them to show me samples of their work, I was told they did not have any available. I saw no signs around on the ground to indicate they were actually carving vice whittling.

I compared the villages the "homeless" called home with the list of communities the state bans alcohol sales, importation or possession and following is my finding: Four of the six "homeless" live in villages that the state bans sale, importation and possession of alcohol. The other two "homeless" live in villages that the state bans sales of alcohol. In years past I have talked with the "homeless" about why they are in Anch and all said they can make money in Anch, with the majority panhandling. I asked what they do when the summer is over and all said they go back to their villages.

Based on my experience in contacts with "homeless" they are choosing to live this life style because there is room available in shelters. One restriction the shelters have and the "homeless" can't abide with is, "no drinking". I feel the only solution is "treatment" which in some cases could be an extended amount of time, 2 yrs plus.

My experience tells me the sanctioned camps will cost more to maintain, i.e. security and health, than sending or sentencing abusers to mandatory extended treatment.
Sgt Denny Allen

Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003
From: Dan Coffey [mailto:dcoffey@coffey-law.net]
RE: Homeless camps

To All: My concerns are two fold. If we create a controlled camp will the camp be used. If we don't permit drinking and sleeping and all of the other activities which occur in the other camps, then I don't think this will solve the problem. Which brings me to my second concern.

If we create a controlled camp and the other camps continue to be used, then we have spent scarce resources on something which isn't going to solve the problem.

My own belief is that many of the homeless are alcoholic or drug addicted. If we are going to address the problem, we need to recognize that alcoholism and drug addiction are illness which require intervention to be "cured" and that without intervention, most addicts will continue their addiction until they die.

Therefore, if we are willing to devote the resources to public drunkenness, we could adopt laws which require mandatory institutionalization. For example is the CSP picks up an individual who is intoxicated on alcohol, mouth wash, whatever, that person is institutionalized and given treatment for a period of 6 months, one year, whatever is required. This gets the person off the street and offers some hope of recovery. This solution is undoubtedly expensive, but at least it addresses the problem directly. Controlled or approved camps will not, in my opinion, accomplish anything other than a waste of public resources.
Dan Coffey

Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003
From: Fay Von Gemmingen [mailto:fayvong@alaska.com]
Subject: Homeless camps Ed, First, my thanks for all you have done and continue to do to help solve this problem. I question having a controlled camp. Seeing pictures of how folks "live" in the camps they now have does not give me hope they will live a neater, more sanitary, and hopefully, alcohol free life in a "controlled" camp.
Fay Fay Von Gemmingen fayvong@alaska.com

Sent June 6, 2003
Mr. Oneill,
Based on your message below, I am very glad to see that you like the city-sanctioned camp idea. I have been communicating with other cities that have these and have their ideas in a file. Today a supporter at the police department offered that he will contact police departments of cities with sanctioned camps to see what their take is on how the camps and campers operate there.

Monday, and for the following week, I will be out of town but two other Assembly members at my request will be meeting with both a local land owner and the director of the Heritage Land Bank. Among topics on their discussion lists is the city-sanctioned camp idea.

Last week when I talked with the directors of both Beans and Brother Francis it was left that they would talk-up the sanctioned camp idea among their clients and get back to me with feedback and a possible time to have a meeting at one of those two facilities. My new Assembly aide Casey Reynolds will be following up on those contacts for me this week while I am gone to California

.Anticipating we can work together on this perpetual and universal urban dilemma of homelessness and camping, may I please ask that you contact and/ or involve this week either Casey casey_w_reynolds@hotmail.com or Dick Tremaine tremaine@alaska.net. They know what I have been working on and will be happy to coordinate with the laudable effort you have been putting in on the issue over the long haul,

Sent June 6, 2003
The word is getting out….Panhandling and homelessness was an unscheduled topic at last evening’s Downtown Community Council. Also in attendance were students from UAA’s Social Changes course – and thus a perfect opportunity to express the importance of public education and to share the current collaboration of so many parties. Thanks to everyone for your continued commitment.

Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003
From: Ed Oneill [mailto:eoneill@brownjug.alaska.net]
Subject: RE: Homeless
Hi Marti & All concerned,
I'll try to find items that are usable to donate if there's a need at Bean's. Sleeping bags etc. that I've seen in the drinking camps lately are not usable because of rot or damage. Any personal items that have value are turned over to APD for a 60 day hold. All camps with personal items are given 24hrs+ notice to move by APD before dismantling is done by "ARBRA".

Had a good visit with Jim Crockett, Executive Director of Bean's Cafe, about the idea of a controlled camp site with proper / safe conditions. It serves a different purpose or category, but has good merit if it is "self supportive" & "a step-up". (There's an excellent location for the waiting also) I'm in agreement with Jim's ideas; He's at 274-9595, let's get together with him on this subject so we can hopefully make real positive changes and go for that "REAL" All American City look.

Next serious drinking camp to address is behind the Senior Center, south to Chester Creek. Check out the pile of debris on 40th behind the Library, 10 workers / 4 days! My hats off to Dan Sullivan's common sense approach to public safety, please send your support to our assemble members before the June 10th meeting. Next step, Consequences with a civil penalty for Motorist inviting Panhandlers into the road way & Allen Tesche's common sense approach to the Behavior of Public Inebriates (drunks - to the bleeding hearts). Thanks for your efforts & helpful ideas............Ed

Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Subject: Homeless
Please, Ed, if you destroy anymore camps, Please take the tents, sleeping bags and other usable equipment to Bean's Cafe.

Marti Bradley Care Coordinator

Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003
Subject: FW: Attention to Panhandlers for the community minded
Loren/Sam/Brenda/Michael/Tom etc. - Please see directions below, need your support on panhandle issue emailed to assembly along with friends and family ASAP as this is a total City eye sore and it can only be addressed with small steps. All that the communities done so far is "Make it someone else's problem". (Federation, please forward to each C.Council) Thanks, Ed

Ed - I'm not sure I'll make it to a tour but am interested to know where the camp is. Thanks, Loren

Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 6:27 PM
Hi Charlie, Brenda S. suggested I bring you up to date on our "not so fair" city. Will try and keep you posted on panhandler issue, feel free to give us a hand if you'd like. Tks Ed

Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003
This new site is back of Lowe's Hardware between the ACS parking lot & Lowe's at the end of 40th Ave. off Denali Street. Fun starts at the trail entry heading south off gravel road. New owners of this property is JL Properties 279-8068. It'll take a week to cleanup with five man not including management of project unless there's an immanent domain issue as some of the homeless have lived there for years. Ha, ha


This being the biggest mess I've seen in my 66 years running the streets of Anchorage and apparently no one's the wiser at APD. For future reference; if someone asked me to look for a body or rape victim, this is where I think I'd start. Please think about a Civil Penalty of $50 + to assess drivers inviting panhandlers into the roadway. That's gas money for the community Patrols. Can you or Audie meet with us tomorrow before the safety meeting? If so please call me at 240-1818.

Thanks for all you do!


Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 2:24 PM
Thank you Sam for the kind words that should be directed to our ARBRA group. I'm hoping to get some takers for a first hand look at the problems these panhandlers are causing before the safety meeting tomorrow? Ed

Ed, Thanks for all your help on this ongoing problem. You and your organization are a model for your industry in regards to being a good corporate citizen. No small wonder since it is an "Alaskan grown" company - we need more like you! I got your current email too late for the May meeting but we would love to have you on our June agenda to discuss more we can do together. I will let you know where the executive board meeting will be held but the date is next Wed., 6/3/03 Sam Rose North Star Community Council

5/29/2003 - Where is the meeting held Doug, I'd love to bend a few ears on this issue. Thanks for your efforts on the cleanup along Campbell Creek & Westchester Lagoon. You will not believe what you're going to see at the Midtown Panhandlers Camp. If you've got a few minutes I'll walk you thru it. I'm at the Warehouse Brown Jug Store, 42nd & Old Seward.
Ed 240-1818
Ed O'Neill Brown Jug, Inc


Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 9:47 AM
From: Doug Van Etten [mailto:vanetten@alaska.net]
Subject: RE: Attention to Panhandlers / Street people
I lead a crew each year on Creek CleanUp Saturday, about 10 days ago, and have seen MANY camps: along Campbell Creek, on the backside of the small Westchester Lagoon and other locations. I cannot speak for other Assembly members but I share your concern for the locations: the safety, public health and fire hazard concerns, possibly among other community concerns. What is the best telephone number to reach you?

Or perhaps you want to attend the Assembly Public Safety committee meeting Friday, May 30 2-3 PM. One of the topics will be the two Sullivan ordinances.

Doug Van Etten 244-6610 At 09:10 AM 5/29/2003 -0800, you wrote:

Thank You Doug for the response. Wondering if you could help with a 10 minute tour of a midtown drinking camp of panhandlers, it's beyond belief. I would rather not clean it up until all of those uninformed about the panhandler issue are able to view it. I'm hoping to get all the assembly members there between how and next Tuesday if possible. Can you and Dan Sullivan help get the assembly to join me when it's convenient?

Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2003
From: Doug Van Etten [mailto:vanetten@alaska.net]
Subject: Attention to Panhandlers / Street people

Ed, Lets please meet so I can better understand how you see the "panhandling" ordinance solving problems. Perhaps we can meet Monday, June 2. The rest of my week looks pretty booked Thursday and Friday.
Doug Van Etten Anchorage Assembly


Can't find any effort on the Assembly's part to address the Panhandlers / Street people problem?? Sam Rose, North Star Community Council, Would like to figure out what can be done to eliminate public drinking and loitering on North Star School's back stairwell going north behind the playground. This is the most consistent illegal street people problem area we have in Spenard and it should be considered part of the school grounds because of its use.

Items found are beyond indecent and inappropriate, to say nothing of beer, vodka and mouthwash containers (with very little use of the trash can). It appears to be well posted for legal purpose to NO avail !! I'm almost tempted to donate a video camera, monitor and video recorder if it could be put to serious use by APD and the North Star staff. Possible GCI Web support so the neighborhood could help with monitoring. Purpose being, if there was loitering while using the stairs by an adult it would be trespass and swiftly followed through by school security or police. Otherwise, the camera would be a waste of time and money.

Please keep this interrelated issue in mind - Anchorage has become the state's " Party Central " for Panhandlers / Street people. They have every basic need provided for them by charitable groups and public assistance, so any cash money they get their hands on goes towards the "party".

Support of Dan Sullivan's commonsense Panhandlers initiative would empower us all to be more proactive for our safety and that of the person handed the dollars for alcohol. How about empowering us all with a $500 Civil Penalty for those inviting Panhandlers onto the roadway &/or exchanging money anywhere for their alcohol needs. There's plenty of that going on outside our stores.

The innocent Panhandler in the Press article this week was run off from a Brown Jug yesterday trying to buy for minors. Does anyone know or care about the homeless sexual predators providing alcohol to minors in hotel rooms? Ask O.C. Madden, our security person who's made over a hundred arrest of 3rd party purchases for minors - have the police made one in the last 12 months?

Northeast of North Star school, between "Valley of the Moon" and "C" street there was the discovery of five trash laden camps this past Friday, with the usual mattresses, Girlie magazines, bonfire residue along with a cash register from a recent store break-in, all with in a hundred feet of our trail system as seen on channel 13 the same night.We have a five man crew hauling it away today. All this starts with the Panhandlers and their friends. Just ask those of us who are in the know!

Found another mess of camps behind the senior center to cleanup Does any one remember the serious forest fire a season or two ago behind the center?? The residue of is fire still there amongst a new group of Panhandler Camps.

Ed O'Neill
Brown Jug, Inc.

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