Diversion, 'blue ticket,' and a free ride home to family - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 14, 2019
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Diversion, ‘blue ticket,’ and a free ride home to family

ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

Alaska could learn something from Seattle and other large urban megalopolises when it comes to the homeless and “diversion” programs.

Take, for instance, operations in place for decades in cities such as San Francisco and New York and West Palm Beach, in Florida, to help send the homeless back to where they say they came from.

The city of Seattle and community organizations already offer the homeless free bus tickets out of town, but Reagan Dunn, a King County council member, wants to take it further. He wants to set up a $1 million, free-standing government program to provide bus tickets for “family unification.” It would be part of the city’s homeless diversion program, the Associated Press reports.

Dunn, we believe, is onto something. In territorial days, Alaska used to have a “blue ticket” that was offered those who ran afoul of the law and were given the choice of jail or a one-way ticket south. If they took the ticket, they were escorted to Seward to catch a steamship heading south.

Alaska and the city of Anchorage, along with social agencies, Native corporations and other private businesses, should consider an updated version of that program for the homeless, perhaps mirroring Seattle’s, to help those who want to go home.

It would not be the complete answer to Anchorage’s homeless problem – not everybody, after all, wants or is able to go home – but it certainly is a better idea than herding the homeless from one city park to another every 10 days or warehousing them in permanent camps that only promise more problems than solutions.

It would be a step toward helping to solve their problem and the city’s.

[Read the Anchorage Daily Planet at this link]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Hahaha you better come see how these programs are working for Seattle (they aren’t). The homeless problem is bigger than the media is letting on. No program will stop it. For every dollar spent to make the homeless leave, $1,000 is spent on programs that make them want to stay. Do some research please.

  • The solution to the homeless issue is a simple one. Luckily, it is also a free one. Stop incentivizing them. Not a single taxpayer dollar should be spent to fight homelessness.

  • In some cases it might help. But a phone call to family advising the whereabouts of their “lost soul” might be cheaper & more useful. Sometimes “home” may no longer be a welcoming place. Instead investigation may expose a trail of burnt bridges after years of spending a fortune trying to help and broken promises.

    Sometimes “home” is where ever you hang your hat.

  • STOP providing handouts, period. Offer a hand up.
    Well-intentioned policies that simply operate on feelings and offer no concrete results contribute to the destruction of a society.

  • I thought a lot of them were banned from where they came from and sent to Anchorage in the first place.

  • Maybe villages who expel their bums to Anchorage and Native Corporations who give dividends to bums should share in payments to Anchorage for the upkeep of their bums?

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