Solutions for a cleaner, safer city; basic amenities and safety for visitors who choose camping while enjoying the greatland experience with compassionate outreach for the homeless.
Anchorage CHARR is a united financially sound organization committed to protect, foster, and grow the hospitality industry locally, which serves a strong membership and fosters a positive relationship with the Anchorage community.
Updates from Ed O'Neil
ARBRA Grumman/Campbell Creek Campers Clean Uphttp://web.me.com/oneillalaska/ARBRA_Camper_Intervention/ARBRA_Grumman_Campbell.html TBOP 6/21/2010http://web.me.com/oneillalaska/ARBRA_Camper_Intervention/TBOP_6_21_2010.html ARBRA Tudor Campbell Creekhttp://web.me.com/oneillalaska/ARBRA_Camper_Intervention/ARBRA_Tudor_Campbell_Ck.html ARBRA Midtown / C St. and 16thhttp://web.me.com/oneillalaska/ARBRA_Camper_Intervention/ARBRA_Midtown___C_St.,_16th.html
Take Back Our Campbell Creek Park Meeting
Discussion highlights & next moves notes from the 7/20/2009 "Take Back Our Campbell Creek Park" Illegal and Inappropriate Use meeting are now available for download.
Homeless Camps in Anchorage
The following began as a series of emails that discuss the issue of homeless people living in camps in Anchorage. I was fortunate to be included in this volley of emails.
For the majority of us who are not directly involved with the homeless, the story that unfolds will be a surprise.
Most of the pictures were provided by Ed O'Neill of the Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association (ARBRA) starting in late Spring 2000 to the present.
If you spot a homeless camp, you can call the Beverage Related Trash Hotline 563-3815 ext. 225 or email email@example.com . When 'ID'ing beverage related problems, mark the spot on a map from the phone book or use ALPAR's map. Fax the map to 562-3008 or drop it off at any Brown Jug location, Attention: Ed O'Neill, with your contact information. This should help speed up the process for finding the trashed location.
The trash cleanup is sponsored by ARBRA. ARBRA believes in "compassion and dignity for cleaner, safer city homeless inhabitants! Basic camping amenities for visitors while enjoying our great land experience."
The group works very efficiently with an annual budget approaching $50,000 funded by several Anchorage liquor stores and associate members. Contact us to make a contribution.
There are a few pics sprinkled on this page. To get a real education, check out the Photo Gallery. You will be amazed at the construction of some of these camps!
John Weddleton 317-0222
To: ARBRA's Volunteers, Members and Associates
- Tonnage Clean-up (thanks to Bean's cafe' for the casual labor at $8.00 per hour) An aggressive ARBRA effort continues to be made policing clean-up after the street people / panhandling / inebriate problem city wide. Approximately thirty to forty tons of trash (all types)has been picked up & hauled to the dump each year by ARBRA crews, at an annual average cost to members of $25,000 thanks to their generous support. This does not include an equal amount from Brown Jug, Inc. and Anchorage CHARR for the scheduling, managing, accounting costs of running this non-profit program annually.
- Mouthwash (beverage of choice when refused at area liquor stores) Efforts to limit and/or cut off sales to those we feel are abusing the product by their behavior has resulted in an increase of 10% of alcohol related trash being mouthwash containers. Primary sources are Big Box Stores because of it not being a controled substance. Note the avg. alcohol proof is 20% for Wine, 12% for Ice Beer, 80% for Liquor. Mouthwash is 54% at approximately $2.99 for a 1.5 Liter plastic btl. No law or tax to deal with - pennies on the $ for a most damaging affect. Hand sanitizers are now showing up at 124º proof.
- Underbrush (thanks to state, city and private owners for clearing permission) Inebriates drinking camps are a serious danger to the campers and the surrounding neighborhood due to behavior and unsightly conditions. The removal of underbrush has proven to be effective. Many areas are being addressed annually along Nature Trails and roadways within the city bowl thanks to member dues & welcome grant dollars. Funds for underbrush removal are needed in two heavily impacked areas. 1st area is Campbell Creek, south of Grumman Street; 2nd is east of Valley of Moon Park along Eastchester Creek. Each is in need of a three acre brush removal at $5,000 per/ac.
- Panhandlers (thanks to St. Francis House "Tokens for 2 day food supply") Before the panhandling begins on any given day they're being well fed and clothed by this more than generous City and State. When the panhandling starts, they'll receive a sufficient amount of cash in a very short time to fulfill their alcohol needs from motorist with misguided intentions, ending in a devastating result. In order to discourage money for panhandlers, St. Francis food tokens are available at the member's cash-out counters that have Homeless donation jugs. It's also encouraged to supplement the token with a snack food item when panhandlers are in the area. The main focus is a public awareness of not giving cash to solicitors. Food pick-up, 3710 East 20th Ave. (bus route #45). Hrs. Mon,Tues,Thur. 12-3pm.
- BEVERAGE TRASH HOT LINE addressing the above problems and solutions call Ed @ 563-3815 ext.225
Sincere thanks to all Members, Associates for covering the above costs; for BP's yellow trash bags (over 25,000 each year for ARBRA) and Muni's Fred Fulgencio's Community Work Service Program on trash hauling. Team Spirit For A Safer, Friendlier, Appealing City!
Ed O'Neill / Brown Jug, Inc.
July 7, 2008
Message from Mayor Mark Begich
Midtown Fire Shows Need to Address Homelessness. Last week’s 10-acre fire which started in a homeless camp in the Campbell Creek greenbelt should serve as a wake-up call to Anchorage and Alaska that we all must do more to address the growing homelessness in our community, says Mayor Mark Begich. Thanks to great work by the Anchorage Fire Department and State firefighters, the blaze was contained before it could threaten nearby homes. The mayor says Anchorage has a serious homelessness problem, with 2,200 homeless and nearly half of these families with children. The mayor is calling for increased state funds for affordable housing and alcohol treatment and support of volunteer clean-up efforts such as one initiated by beverage retailers. The city is considering tougher public drinking and panhandling laws.
January 9, 2008
Chronic alcoholic program reports progress. When an apartment building for chronic, homeless alcoholics opened in Seattle at the end of 2005, critics said it would be a waste of public... Full story [Copyright (c) 2007 The Seattle Times Company]
Reach of helping hands cut off by a helpless man
On October 1, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News published an article by Beth Bragg focussing on a man named Jim who is "about 60 years old, and he lives in a tent in the woods 10 yards off a bike path in Mountain View." Bragg reports that "Campers who live nearby are worried about him. He drinks, as do his neighbors, but he's also weak, sometimes too weak to walk or even to stand. Last week some of the campers found an old orange electrical cord, draped it over the branch of a skinny tree and left one end near the tent flap. That way, when Jim ventures out, he can use the cord to hoist himself to his feet."
"He can't walk. He's crawling. He's urinating all over himself and it's been that way for months," said Bert Temple, who lives in a van with his dog and often visits the campsite at night to play guitar and drink with friends. "He's getting skinnier all the time. Weaker all the time. Thom Blackbird of Homeward Bound, a program for chronic, homeless alcoholics, has visited Jim a couple of times to no avail. Bragg reports that Jim refuses offers for help and with winter coming, friends are afraid Jim will die. "I think he wants to die," he said.
On October 4, Ed O'Neill responded to Bragg's article.
On behalf of all the Jims,
The challenge still facing us is how to tie the short term visible problem of our out of control permanent campers while working on a long term 10 year solution for both the temporary and permanent campers.
Campers are growing each year at a rate more than any reasonable or affordable short term housing plan. There were over one hundred campers last winter and hundreds more this summer and fall. For example, this summer ARBRA cleaned up an encampment (one of more than forty city-wide) across from Brother Francis / Beans Café four times this year (30 more campers have moved back last week). Unfortunately no one appears to notice these unkempt, unmanaged eye sores other than tourists, a few local property owners and the one third (1/3) neat and temporary campers who tip us off about the other cluttered two thirds (2/3).
ARBRA clean up is not a big problem, when there's a need call 563-3815 x225. This is to the tune of $50,000 a year at ARBRA’s expense and over 40 tons of material being picked up and bagged thanks to BP for the yellow trash bags at no cost to the city. The problem is this Who are these people? Why do they choose this behavior as a life style? How safe are we not knowing the answers to these questions? If there are bad people camped out illegally a few feet from our families, work places and secluded trails, we need to know who and what we’re dealing with. This just might have something to do with the fact our Alaska statistics are so bad nationally.
Lets push ourselves away from the desks, go out and talk to these people like Beth Bragg, Thom Blackbird and others have done as caring citizens, businesses and nonprofit agencies of Anchorage, we need to know more about the people camped in the shadows and off our neighborhood trails, what are their backgrounds (document each one) and why are they choosing this lifestyle? We also need this information in a timely week to week, day to day manner, not after something bad has happened.
For those who are displaced and trying to get back on their feet, there is not enough low income housing available and there won’t be for years to come. These campers need to have a clean, safe, managed place to camp-out with some basic amenities. They don’t feel safe, they are afraid of homeless bashing by young people, women are afraid of being raped by other campers, etc. It’s the same year after year and getting worse. There are over 3000 +/- people who are homeless in Anchorage each year trying to get back on their feet. There are 300 + people who end up living on the street and behind the bushes annually. The 300 + are the most visible, the most helpless and dangerous. This is not an exaggeration; ask those serving thousands of meals each day at Beans Café, The Soup Kitchen and The Mission.
Brown Jug, Inc. / Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association, Inc.
4140 Old Seward Hwy.
Use a $40,000+ portion as a ‘Camp Homeless Outreach Team Grant Fund’ via RurAL CAP. This would be an alternative to full-scale camp management; which ARBRA continues seeking public support on. These efforts are not unlike what ARBRA is doing now with some exceptions;
- A Task Force Technician &/or Homeless Outreach Team members that would be mobilized and in charge of monitoring all camps in the city. With the exception of a Team Captain, Team Members would be compassionate community volunteers.
- Do monthly camper background checks by working closely with law enforcement, Homeward Bound and the new Muni ‘Homeless Services Forum’?
- Provide resource information to those in need of help &/or direct resources back to camper.
- Use pre-signed ARBRA checks or vouchers to accelerate clean camp plus a leg up as needed.
- Notify ARBRA on immediate issues they observe, i.e.: abandoned camps, underbrush removal, needles, beverage related trash etc...
- Keep an open dialog with nonprofit agencies, community councils and ARBRA’s hotline (563-3815 ext. 225).
Anchorage dollars ($$) support party life style! (Aug. 2006)
- Muni support needed for a managed Safe & Secure Camp Site.
- Legislative support needed for Meaningful Intervention using “Title 47” solutions.
Panhandling & an overly generous Public Assistance Program with little to no Managed Intervention for this homeless issue creates a huge liability in our community.
Today: 100,000 plus BP Yellow trash bags used 35 Ton of trash (all types) picked up by ARBRA crew at average annual cost to members of $50,000 thanks to their generous support.
Check out the Photo Gallery for more!
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Anchorage Daily News February 2006
We can all be in awe over the talent and efforts within the Mayor’s Task Force this past year under the watchful eye of Hilary Morgan, Carma Reed and Diane DiSanto. The challenge still facing us is how to tie the short term visible problem of our ‘out of control’ permanent campers while working on a long term 10 year solution for both the temporary and permanent campers.
Campers are growing each year at a rate more than any reasonable or affordable short term housing plan. There are over one hundred campers this winter, and hundreds more in the spring, summer and fall. For example, this week ARBRA cleaned up an encampment (one of more than thirty) across from Brother Francis / Bean’s Café. Unfortunately no one appears to notice these unkempt, unmanaged eye sores other than tourists, a few local property owners and the one third neat and temporary campers who tip us off about the other cluttered two thirds.
ARBRA clean up is not a problem, one call does it for this week; to be repeated to the tune of over 40 tons a year at no cost to the city. The problem is this – Who are these people? Why do they choose this behavior as a life style? How safe are we not knowing the answers to these questions? If there are bad people camped out illegally a few feet from our families, work places and secluded trails, we need to know who and what we’re dealing with. This might have something to do with the fact our statistics are so bad nationally.
Let’s push ourselves away from the desks, go out and talk to these people. As citizens,
businesses and nonprofit agencies of Anchorage, we need to know more about the people camped in the shadows and off our neighborhood trails, what are their backgrounds (document each one) and why are they choosing this lifestyle? We also need this information in a timely week to week, day to day manner, not after something bad has happened.
For those who are displaced and trying to get back on their feet, there is not enough low income housing available and there won’t be for a long time to come. These campers need to have a clean, safe, managedplace to camp out with some basic amenities. They don’t feel safe, they are afraid of homeless bashing by young people, women are afraid of being raped by other campers, etc. There are over 3000 +/- people who are homeless and trying to get back on their feet. There are 300 + people who end up living on the street annually. The 300 + are the most visible and dangerous.
Please know; our greatest liability is what we don’t know about them. Let’s reduce the liabilities by addressing the problem with some common sense and out-of-the box thinking like the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness has been doing. After six years of policing the camper problem, we’d be happy to share ideas on how to put any available funding for this part of task force solutions to its highest and best use.
Thank You……..ARBRA Please support the ‘ARBRA Clean Up Fund’
February 01, 2006
From: Dan Coffey [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Let me be the one of the first to proclaim Ed O'Neill is the best private sector/corporate owner in Alaska.
Ed does more public good than anyone else I know. He cleans up camps where public inebriates congregate and, to a large extent, drink mouth wash sold without restraint by Walmart.
He runs his own business (along with Lowell Shinn) in an exemplary fashion to insure that minors and public inebriates do not have access to alcohol.
He is a founder of the Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association which has a code of conduct with regard to the sale of alcoholic beverages which is unsurpassed in the State and, for all I know, the country.
In short, God Bless Ed O'Neill.
I thought you might like to know.
Regards to All,
Dan Coffey, Assemblyman
Liquor store owner works to establish legal, secure camps for those in need
By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA, Anchorage Daily News
Published: June 26, 2005
Ed O'Neill meets the homeless on their own turf. He treks into the brush and woods around the Anchorage Bowl. He knows the hidden trails and creek crossings. He sloshes through bogs in search of troubled people and their trash. "Do you want help?" he asked a camouflage-clothed man with short-cropped hair, who was rolling a cigarette at a camp in the woods off Third Avenue. You can read the full story online.
Signs like the one to the right
Signs like the one to the right have been posted at known camp sites in Anchorage for out of town visitors to read and hopefully abide by.
If the 200+ camp sites are clean, quiet, no fires, rapes or fights it's unlikely APD will intervene with over 4,000 acres to patrol.
Clients at Bean's Cafe and Bro. Francis Shelter are making use of the BP Yellow trash bags on a daily basis, which is encouraging. ARBRA has used about 4000 of them so far this year and distributed another 4000 for tent campers to use thanks to BP generous support.
Please keep your fingers crossed for legally managed tent camping areas with toilets etc.. close to downtown and not unlike those in Europe or the lower 48.
TENT CITY FOR ANCHORAGE?
From Ed O'Neill
May 27, 2005:
Why a Tent City in Anchorage? Thanks to all concerned of Anchorage's ever increasing 'illegal / unsafe Tent City Encampments. It's important to share valuable information Brian Anderson (Social Services Director at Bean's Cafe) brought back from his trip South. Brian's observations where shared at today's ADTP meeting with much interest to say the least.
I hope others will read the following and voice your opinions to our good Mayor on our out of control problem, It only gets worse with each year no matter who's in-charge. Native people are used to practicing their old traditional values, and sleeping out in a tent for shelter instead of a high priced hotel is one of them. The same applies to the lifestyle of our backpack visitors from out of the state.
Cleanliness and safety will follow if the community shows visitors a respectful service oriented place to legally camp.
From Brian Anderson
Subject: Tent City Info
Per request, here is some additional information about Tent Cities in Seattle and another in Portland called Dignity Village. Dignity Village has a completely different ethos. They hope to create a long-term permanent self-sustained village not a transitional housing idea such as Seattle’s.
Seattle’s Tent City (click on the Tent City link on the right side)
www.eastsidecares.org (church website in support of Tent Cities)
(to have both sides, here is an anti-tent city website run by a Kirkland group)
and if you just google “tent city seattle” you will get a good assortment of links
There are also some good photographs on these sites.
Let me know if you need anything else and I’ll relay it on to my clients!
Brian Anderson Social Services Director Bean's Cafe PO Box 100940 Anchorage, AK 99510 (907) 274-9595 (907) 277-5251 (fax) email@example.comA brief documentary
To see a brief documentary of Ed O'Neil's recognition by the Anchorage Assembly for his work on the issue of homeless inebriates, click here.
Ed has gone high tech and is posting more frequent new photos than you'll see at this page. Click here to check them out!
Brown Jug received national recognition when Doctors for Designated Driving awarded them with the Platinum Key of Life Award for Brown Jug's persistent efforts for responsible drinking. A group called Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free recognized this award, too.
You can see from the pictures here that the homeless camp life is not a neat and clean style. For more on Alaska litter prevention click here.
The Anchorage Downtown Partnership is also working for solutions to the problem with inebriates.
HELP FOR THE HOMELESS?
Some time ago, the Mayor set up a Task Force charged with developing a 10 year plan to solve the city's homeless problem. That's an audacious goal, but they have actually released an outline for the plan in October 2004. Take a look.
HOUSING FIRST IS FOCUS OF HOMELESS PLAN
October 26, 2004
A task force appointed by Mayor Mark Begich 10 months ago to address the long-term impacts and solutions for Anchorages homeless population has released a draft report that is now available for public comment. The report sets out a 10-year strategy for dealing with homelessness, founded on a housing first and coordinated services plan to reduce homelessness.
Housing first is a philosophy that assumes assistance for any other aspect of an individual's life will be less successful if he or she is without safe and affordable housing.
The plan presented by the task force says that in 10 years, the homeless in Anchorage will be connected with a way to find safe and affordable housing within three months of being identified as being homeless by a provider.
"I asked the task force to be aggressive, but realistic when it comes to finding solutions to ending homelessness in Anchorage," Begich said. The group has done an excellent job of identifying short and long-term goals and steps that can be taken to make significant progress in helping people find shelter.
The Plan on Homelessness includes action steps and performance measures written for one- three- five- and 10-year time frames to achieve the vision and goals. According to the draft report, implementation of the action steps requires two fundamental changes in the way the Anchorage community approaches homelessness:
- Service providers must change the way they do business to emphasize housing first: This will involve developing the information technology and the willingness on the part of service providers to cooperate with one another to efficiently and effectively address individuals and families housing barriers.
- Planners, funders and policy makers must change their processes and rules to provide information, funding, and requirements that result in housing first: Planners will need to provide real-time feedback to service providers on their performance on an on-going basis. Training on how to participate in the homelessness service provider network will need to be on-going, and a centralized place for maintaining web-based referral and information systems will need to be identified and funded. Funders and policy makers will need to be responsive to the effectiveness of programs and organizations in their contribution to housing first.
The report also calls for the mayor to appoint a five-member Oversight Board to track progress and implementation of the Plan on Homelessness. It also recommends the Oversight Board work with the mayor's office to ensure coordination with state and federal Interagency Councils on Homelessness and with other homeless service providers, advocates and other local entities.
In January, Mayor Begich appointed the 24-member Task Force on Homelessness and charged them with developing a vision for how Anchorage will address homelessness by the year 2015. Working as a subcommittee of the Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) Commission, the Task Force was made up of homeless and formerly homeless people, representatives from non-profit agencies, public safety personnel, businesses, the school district, government officials and charitable foundations.
In preparing its report the Task Force met once a month and four sub-groups met several times each. Those sub-groups focused on the issues of housing, targeted case intervention, public policy, and information management.
The draft plan was made available to the public on Oct. 8, 2004. A public hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 26, 2004 in the Mayor's Conference Room. The Task Force will then present the final report to the Anchorage Assembly and the Mayor during a December 2004 work session.