On a chilly, drizzly fall day, the city's new homeless coordinator trudged through mud down a steep trail into the heart of one of Anchorage's biggest -- and most established -- homeless villages.
Here, some of Anchorage's long-time homeless pitch their tents in clusters on undeveloped public land in the Ship Creek area not far from Mountain View's Tyson Elementary School. The city uses part of the parcel for a winter snow dump.
At least 30 to 40 people are now living in the woods here. One group has generators, a TV, stereo, propane stove and couches. Away from the rest, a long-timer built a substantial, wooden structure. In the summer, the population jumps up; in the winter, maybe 10 or so will tough it out, said Sydney Blunt, one of the long-timers. Most people know him as Sinbad, he said.
Mayor Dan Sullivan has made homelessness and especially the persistent problem of homeless alcoholics a priority for his administration. Among his goals: Close down homeless camps while helping the people who live in them. Some advocates worry about the consequences, especially given a new city law giving police power to quickly shut down illegal homeless camps.
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