Humanitarian Crisis? Centennial Campground is not the ‘deplorable’ place the media would have you believe

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Humanitarian crisis? Deplorable?

The Anchorage Assembly “Nine,” their political surrogates on the Left, and the Anchorage Daily News are pushing a narrative to the public that homeless people who are living at a fully equipped, clean campground are in a “humanitarian crisis.”

Perhaps the news reporters have not visited other encampments that have been around Anchorage in the recent past, such as the one that developed on the ridge east of town a couple of years ago.

Or perhaps they don’t have the memory of what Anchorage was like in 2020, with people having sex on the sidewalk in Anchorage next to others who were passed out — or worse.

The truth of Centennial Campground is far from what has been characterized by critics as “deplorable conditions.” Unlike living in the woods or on the street corners around Anchorage and using streams for toilets and bathing, the campers have all the amenities of any top-line campground. They have running water, toilets, 24-hour security, free wi-fi, constant maintenance by city staff who keep the place picked up.

A tour around the campground tells a different story than the one shown by the media. Take a look:

In fact, it’s not much different in its functionality than the 2020 “Camp Berkowitz,” which set up on the Delaney Park Strip. That was an organized project of leftist groups like the “Poor People’s Campaign.” The mayor took no action because the project supported his political objectives; it was a tactic to embarrass the governor and stimulate public interest in the now-failed recall attempt against Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Homelessness is, after all, a political battering ram for the Left.

Many of the people living at the Centennial Campground today are in far better circumstances than they were living in the woods three weeks ago. Those touring through the campground remark on how calm everything is.

While not ideal for some, for others living outdoors is what they want to do for now, and a free camping spot, with food being delivered daily by nonprofits, is an improvement in their situation. Several of the campers have nice cars and most are keeping their campsites tidy.

The Mayor’s Office doesn’t see the campground as a permanent solution, but during the dry weather earlier this year, when fires were a real hazard in the forests around Anchorage, moving people from random campsites in the woods to a controlled situation was a safety priority. A fire south of Dowling Road this summer posed a real threat to homes. Mayor Dave Bronson is working to construct a navigation center that will connect homeless people with the services they need, specific to their individual situations. The Leftist majority on the Assembly has opposed the navigation center and blocked its construction for over a year. They cannot give the mayor a win on homelessness; in fact, their goal seems to be to increase the pain and suffering of the homeless, exacerbate the problem, and then use it to remove the mayor from office under the new ordinance that gives the Assembly the power to do so.

Some homeless have been moved out of the campground and into temporary shelter at city-owned, nonprofit owned, or contracted facilities, such as the Aviator Hotel. They are either families with children or people who are medically fragile.

The Centennial Campground is a far cry from the random takeovers of other public places that occurred in the Berkowitz years, such as the big tent city that popped up at Third Ave. and Ingra St.

There are always situations that arise with chronically homeless. There is drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and occasional death from overdose or untreated medical conditions. But the campground is clean and for the most part it is a safe place, with security cameras and security guards. At least for now.

71 COMMENTS

    • That’s because you’re softer than charmin, boomer bob, the kosher conservative.
      What’s Metzitzah B’peh? When you’re ready to answer that question, you’re ready to have your opinion considered. Until that time… respectfully, please sit your old irrelevant ass down.

    • Send the back to their villages. Alaska Native Corporations need to take if their people. Motive villages stop sending your problems to other communities
      TAME CARE OF YOUR PROBLEMS…

  1. We gave them the Sullivan Arena. They didn’t go away.
    We gave them the park, fed them every day.
    They still didn’t go away.
    DO NOT FEED THE BEARS

    Don’t think for a second that this is about poor people on the street.

    This is about the ” Homeless Industrial Complex “

  2. If the mayor were a democrat, Suzanne would call Centennial Park Armageddon, a war zone, a seething pond of poo. But for the MAGA mindset, ideology beats reality.

      • Nothing personal to me, though unlike most conservatives, I have compassion for members of my community and hope for a solution from Bronson, but, because he’s so incompetent, it won’t happen. My point is that for the Right, ideology blinds them to reality.

        • Ah, Lucinda, compassion for members of your community…

          Do you mean compassion simply by thought, or by action?

          I would imagine that most of the ‘conservatives’ that you so deride upon this site engage within more compassion, through action, than you could imagine.

          They donate their time, money, and the purchasing of food to the various agencies supporting the less fortunate through their faith-based and private organizations, as well as individuals donating directly to those less fortunate not seen by the public, but still impactful to those receiving said donations, and I do not mean giving to those that beg upon the street corners, but rather sponsor a working family, or act as a secret Santa to provide a less fortunate individual or family goods or clothing to actually help them rather than complain of the lack of governmental benefits unto them.

          They mentor and hire those less fortunate to give them the opportunity to achieve self-worth and self-reliance through their own hard work rather than through a governmental hand out.

          What do you do, Lucinda?

          You feel sorry for the less fortunate and expect an entity other than you, the government, to solve the problem.

          Whose ideology is blind unto reality, Lucinda?

          Yours?

          Or theirs?

          Because for them, and myself, Lucinda, it IS personal, unlike yourself.

          • Personally I also worked with the homeless directly to get them housed. Besides what you say.

    • LOL, Look in the mirror! Lucinda since our mayor is a conservative, isn’t that what the assembly, ADN et al call it? Armageddon?
      Your problem is that pictures on the ground don’t fit the picture you wish to paint. I remember the tents along 3rd and Ingra and the naked butt presented to me from the median green strip along the Seward Hwy, while I was waiting for the light to change. That was during the Berkowitz years. If you can’t see that tents, meals, showers, toilets and security are an improvement, then you are the ideologue.

    • How many homeless are you housing? Just what I thought non your putting you nose into a problem that’s over you head. The mayor is doing an excellent job while trying to deal with an out of control assembly who makes up the tiles as they go. Maybe they will pass an ordnance that says you and them will house the homeless in your own homes and set an example

      • That’s silly Mark. As a citizen, I am not responsible for solving the public’s problems. Neither are you.

        My point is that ideology trumps reality on this forum. The Park’s a mess and it is largely Bronson’s incompetence at fault.

        • As citizens we ARE the public and need to be part of the solution. You have just admitted that you like to point fingers to complain, but not lift one to help.
          The mayor is thinking outside the box. To my knowledge the “plan” Berkowitz et al had didn’t solve anything, but made it worse. I remember the meetings at city hall when Berky declared a “homeless emergency”. The “experts” waxed poetically at length, while only a few minutes were allotted for the public to speak. Nothing changed other than the taxpayer getting fleeced for more money.

        • So why, then, did you beloved Assembly nine stop Mayor Bronson from building a place for the homeless to get the help they need? Because if you call it incompetence, that name fits the leftist Assembly, not Mayor Bronson. Maybe take off those leftist glasses before you read what really goes on, dear.

          • Bronson wanted to put a tent up to house homeless in a subarctic environment, on a cement floor. Bought from a buddy from the election.

            You good with housing homeless vets that way?

    • If the mayor were a democrat, Suzanne would have no opinion as to the Centennial Campground, as said mayor would rather have the city burn down resultant from scattered filthy and unregistered camps than an organized camp source with city support.

      As unto the rest of your description, Lucinda, that is EXACTLY what most, if not all homeless camps outside of regulated camps within this city are.

  3. Nice tables to leave your food out on (attracting the bears), fire pits designed not to raze the nearby forest, a Brown Jug a short walk away, food delivered from Beans (no tip for the drivers needed), free tents, and no rent.
    What’s not to love? I can’t camp at those rates. What are people complaining about? No tv or free wifi?

  4. I would strongly encourage anyone who cares, to actually go out there and take a look.

    It is far more closer to the awful conditions describe by Alaska news source, than the downplayed and minimizing fiction described here.

    But, I understand most users of this site will consider this sufficient proof, and any factual portrayals or first hand observations will simply be considered as fake news or propaganda.

    Enjoy your fantasy land

    • I can assure you it looks better than Davis Park last year, even after the tons of garbage were removed. The repaved roads are nice too.

      If you allow drag queen story hour at Centennial Park, I’m sure it will improve morale, and the campground won’t be as “deplorable”.

    • Well, we have pictures of the campground from MRAK – looks fine. We have an aerial picture from ADN – looks, um, fine too. Maybe we should get some more pictures because we can’t all take a personal tour.

      I take bias seriously, including MRAK. ADN doesn’t mention that many of the vulnerable homeless have already been housed elsewhere. MRAK doesn’t mention that, though they have free WiFi, they cannot charge their phones. I am glad MRAK finally gave an update on this camp because I have only heard the many “Bash Bronson” stories. Did the Navigation Center ever start construction, or is it still stalled by Dunbar?

        • The Salvation Army is the perfect organization to deal with these folks. We should have utilized the 30 plus acres next to the Clitheroe Center out at Woronzof, bring in ATCO style trailers, and have an organized work program along with drug and alcohol treatment. Earn your way back into society.

  5. I fully understand that the taxpaying neighbors are frustrated. However hyperbole and finger pointing, as well as the blame game, are truly counterproductive and only serve to drive groups further apart, instead of bringing people together to solve this issue as best we can. From the articles I have seen in the ADN etc. it appears the homeless population is being used as a cudgel by “advocates”(those who make a living from their advocacy) to score political points yet without any interest whatsoever to actually tackle the problem and help these individual and the residents come to a mutually acceptable solution.

  6. I was checking to see if our City was selling us downriver for Federal Funds.
    Gee, I tripped over this:

    Why is the city closing down the Sullivan Arena shelter now?

    The main reason, city officials say, is that Friday, July 1, is the day the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will reduce how much of the costs it covers for mass shelters like the Sullivan. Beginning on July 1, FEMA’s reimbursement will drop from 100% to 90%, according to a FEMA advisory from March.

    The city estimates it has been spending about $1 million per month on the Sullivan shelter since it opened in March 2020. So far, it has only been reimbursed about $3.9 million for costs before Sept. 15, 2020, according to Anchorage Health Department spokesperson Tyler Sachtleben, but it’s submitting for reimbursements on the other costs.

    • Which begs the following questions:
      How much does the taxpayer from municipal to federal owe the homeless community?
      The Municipal taxpayers are on the hook for approx. $80 million for care at the Sully of approx. 1000 homeless individuals.

      Reversely what does the homeless community owe the taxpayer?

      Homeless individuals either by circumstance or by choice live outside societal rules. In this towns there seems to be an expectation that society provide a free roof over their head etc., without any expectations of reciprocity.
      Maybe it is time to return the homeless issue to the community of churches and centers based on individual and corporate donation, barring public funds from any use other than law enforcement, public health, road maintenance/snow removal and education.

      • Judging by the investment, $3,000.00 a head at peak occupancy per month at 300 head…
        To 9,000.00 at last occupancy per head , per month serving 100 souls.
        Either one is a Mortgage Payment.
        It would be cheaper to BUY THEM HOMES.

  7. Sure!! They would rather have the taxpayer fork over 1 million dollars a month to house the homeless and feed them at restaurants .My friend did the calculations and came up with $36,000 worth of services that’s been provided at taxpayer expense to each of the 500 homeless that’s been housed and fed by the city over 18 months!!

    • How much of a savings would you see by incarcerating them? None. Because it cost about $60,000 a year to house in corrections.

      So if you get sick, or your brain busts because you got hit by a car as a child and then fell again on ice as an adult-and are distitute because of it-we should not help you though you are without the ability to function highly in society. Got you John.

  8. Deplorable is how I describe every homeless camp I come across on my reports to the MOA.

    Human feces. Toelet paper. Spent food containers. Tampons… some used. Condom wrappers. Condoms. Soiled. Dirty clothes.Burnt tents.

    Trash. More trash. Sleeping bags, shoes, propane bottles. Enough bike parts for 6 tour de france teams.

    Tarps of every color and size.

    More human waste.

    Deplorable at Centennial? Compared to what.

    Homelessness is a crime. It’s called Trespassing.

  9. One thing learned is the media picks and chooses which, who, and what it chooses to bring attention or when to turn cameras off. Apart from some of the escapades that are expected serving a broken hearted and lost bunch, conditions sound nice that gives any one wanting to change their life if they have clean toilet, toiletries and femimine products, and safety. Just as long as project leaders remember jesus words when asking a man ‘do want to be healed?’ the sick
    man needs to
    want to be healed. So how often
    are anchorage church leaders and local congregation members going out to sit, work, pray, and read and
    teach our world’s good
    news. These homeless is our ‘guatemala’
    apart from physical needs, they need
    the gospel the
    honey in the rock.

    • The last thing the homeless (or any of us) need is a dead end distraction like Christianity. We need self worth, a tablespoon of confidence and access to the basics of existence: safety, food, hygiene and a route to self sufficiency.

        • How much of a savings would you see by incarcerating them? None. Because it cost about $60,000 a year to house in corrections.

          So if you get sick, or your brain busts because you got hit by a car as a child and then fell again on ice as an adult-and are distitute because of it-we should not help you though you are without the ability to function highly in society. Got you John.

      • Self-worth is achieved through self-sufficiency, Lucinda, and if said self-worth is achieved through belief, faith, or Christianity, as it were, how does that harm one such as yourself?

        As far as access unto the basics of existence you describe. none of that is being denied any individual that seeks it out.

        • Randy, I agree with your comment about self sufficiency. Very important.

          But a belief in the supernatural impacts me negatively. For example, I grew up in SLC. The local church members are known for having huge families. These additional consumers demand public services, they are flooding the backcountry and the religion dominates the legislature.

          The local religion claims that the unborn are living in a purgatory and it’s the duty of the faithful to reproduce.

          Religion poisons.

          • My heart goes out to you Lucinda. Your life was clearly negatively affected by your experiences with your church.
            I respectfully ask that you do not project your view on all believers and religious life. There is a difference between certain church doctrine and having a private and personal relationship with God. Just like anything man touches, it can be made to abuse others, but the Lord’s principles of Christianity are sound and for many lead to peace and grace in Him.

  10. Who cares. The solution to the homeless problem is to provide jobs, of which there are plenty. If you choose not to get a job, if you lack the work ethic to keep a job, then the consequences may include being homeless.

    It is not the job of taxpayers to fund laziness. Unless you’re a liberal, then probably it is.

  11. After discounting the addicts, the losers and the lazy, there remains a small percentage of those called “homeless” who are truly incapable of supporting themselves. Those folks used to be institutionalized for their own benefit, so that they could count on shelter, food, clothing, and a safe environment. We took that away in favor of their “liberties and rights,” so now they are dying of exposure, malnutrition, etc. Nothing in that screams of the kindness of humanity. That percentage of the “homeless” need a different solution, but that percentage is very small. The rest of these folks need jail time for vagrancy; they need to face consequences for living off our our largesse instead of making their own.

    • Would that mean the Veterans homeless who are addicts, losers and lazy? Too bad that burn pit caused all that cancer. Sorry that carpet bombing we had you do concussively broke your brain. Sorry mom, dad, sister, brother-out you go.

      Why are we paying then for the Veterans Administration to fund housingof thousands of homeless vets across the US-here in Alaska, too.

      And why are you not including them in your view.?

      The institutionalized were shown not to be safe. Gelaldo Rivera showed us that in 1972, look-up Willowbrook.

      Educate yourself about what homelessness really is about. MRA gives and supports a particularly one sided view that is negative

  12. One may wonder if the Centennial Campground, BEFORE it was allocated as a homeless housing location, was considered a ‘deplorable’ situation.

    If so, why was it allowed to be so by the Municipality?

    If not, what changed it to be considered so?

    The Campground has either always been ‘deplorable’ or has only recently become ‘deplorable’…it cannot be both.

  13. Last night was bad. Film all thefts all of you muldoon people. Shots going off on boundary ( back side of campgrounds ) NEW campers showing up with mattresses… this is becoming Political Theatre. Even a DRAG Queen group production came thru with an actual reg sex offender to come and ” check ” on the children they said. The LEFTIES are sick sick people. LETS HOPE for muldoon’s sake they will ALL be gone on the 31st ! The leftist propaganda is kinda funny though because they claim they are helping these people, they will not cooperate with camp rules or even muni rules for that matter. come by and walk your dogs, it helps us stay safe ! Bring walking stick and cameras.

  14. If we are going to put them up and feed them…Let’s do it in a labor camp. Go pick up trash on the roads, and anything we could find they can do.
    Maybe recycling pickers at the landfill.
    And tell the Unions to just shut up, because they would be worried about defending their jobs…

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