Mayor Dave Bronson of Anchorage, Alaska, has put forth a novel plan that could reshape the lives of the city’s homeless people. The mayor has planned a program that would offer homeless individuals a one-way ticket to any destination within the United States, with San Diego emerging as one of the potential resettlement locations.
The primary objective behind this initiative is to ensure the safety and well-being of the homeless during the harsh Alaskan winters, according to the Mayor.
“Someone says I wanna go to Los Angeles or San Diego or Seattle or Kansas. It’s not our business. My job is to make sure they don’t die on Anchorage streets,” a recent report quoted Mayor Bronson as saying.
The motivation for the Mayor’s bold pursuit comes from the distressing statistics of the previous year when Alaska witnessed a record number of eight deaths among the homeless during the cold season.
The death count Alaskan homeless individuals stood at 29 on July 27, surpassing the previous record of 24 set for all of last year
Fearing that this figure could double in the upcoming winter, Mayor Bronson has attempted to provide a humane choice to the homeless by enabling them to migrate to warmer regions.
“They’re going to have a choice to stay warm this year and that’s the choice we are giving them,” said Bronson.
The initiative aims to offer these individuals an opportunity to stay warm and find better prospects, emphasizing their right to survival and dignity.
While the plan has garnered attention and sparked discussions, some experts, like Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate in San Diego, is reported to have said that typically people are not interested in leaving where they live, even if they do not have a home.
“Homeless people have doctors. They have jobs. They have family and friends, and so people don’t normally just uproot and leave that,” said McConnell.
According to them, encouraging homeless ones to move may not be as straightforward as it seems.
Interestingly, Mayor Bronson’s proposal comes amidst Milwaukee’s remarkable progress in combating family homelessness. The greater Milwaukee region has been leading the charge to become the first area in the nation to end family homelessness. By adopting collaborative strategies and focusing on prevention, they have managed to keep families off the streets and significantly reduce the time spent in shelters before transitioning to stable homes. The success of Milwaukee’s approach demonstrates the power of cross-system solutions and community-driven efforts.
With the White House and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness launching the “ALL INside” initiative to tackle unsheltered homelessness nationwide, there is an opportunity for Alaska to draw inspiration from successful models like Milwaukee’s. By establishing partnerships with federal, state, and local governments, as well as various agencies and service providers, Alaska can utilize available resources and expertise to create comprehensive solutions for its homeless population.
The Alaskan Mayor’s insightful plan, if it becomes successful, can pave the way for other states to tackle homelessness effectively and ensure that every person has a safe, stable, and affordable home.