The mayor of Alaska’s largest city is considering a policy that would provide homeless individuals with one-way plane tickets to places like Los Angeles or San Diego.
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson discussed the plan at a press conference last Tuesday. He told reporters that Anchorage is too cold for the unhoused during winter and that one-way plane tickets are cheaper than building housing.
Bronson said he’s trying to save lives. But, as the Associated Press reports, the Republican mayor’s plan only underscores his city’s failure — or unwillingness — to address a growing crisis.
In May, the city shut down the 500-bed homeless shelter in the city's arena so it could once more be used for concerts and hockey games after neighbors complained about open drug use, trespassing, violence and litter. A plan to build a large shelter and navigation center fell through when Bronson approved a contract without approval from the Anchorage Assembly.
That leaves a gaping hole in the city’s ability to house the thousands of homeless people who have to contend with temperatures well below zero for days at a time and unrelenting winds blasting off Cook Inlet. At the end of June, Anchorage was estimated to have a little more than 3,150 homeless people, according to the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. Last week, there were only 614 beds at shelters citywide, with no vacancies.
Eight homeless people died of exposure in Anchorage last year, which was an all-time record for the city. Many of the area’s unhoused are indigenous to Alaska.
“People are not pawns, they’re human beings,” tribal activist Dr. Ted Mala told the AP.
Tell that to the red state governors shipping immigrants across the U.S. — a ploy that undoubtedly served as a model for Bronson’s proposal.