Anchorage, Alaska Mayor Dave Bronson (R) proposed this week to send his city’s homeless population to California. The mayor’s proposal would see Alaska’s homeless moved to warmer weather during winter months, which could reflect growing complications for California’s growing vagrancy issues.
Bronson said during a press conference that the city could purchase plane tickets for the city’s homeless and send them to California. He described 2022 as the “most deadly year in history for people who were homeless, and now this coming year with this winter, we’re looking at possibly doubling that.”
The mayor said that he had a “moral imperative” to “save lives,” which could include the purchase of plane tickets for the homeless to “go where they want to go.” Anchorage has not approved funding for the program but ran a similar operation last year.
It's a plan that's sure to raise eyebrows and ire in the City of Angels. The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska proposes to send the city's homeless to Los Angeles. The mayor says a ticket to L.A. is cheaper than housing. The backlash – Tonight at 11 from ABC7 https://t.co/Cppa8njnNo pic.twitter.com/f2VvctxmXc
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) July 29, 2023
The mayor said that 11 individuals accepted tickets last year.
Specifically, Bronson cited the cost of fares from Anchorage to Los Angeles, which are less than $300.
“It costs us $100 plus or minus a few dollars every day to house someone, and we don’t have a place to put them in a large shelter this winter,” he added.
“And remember, the objective, and it’s sad that we had to get to this, but we’re here to save lives, that’s my job,” the mayor said.
Anchorage is facing a pressing issue as winter approaches. Last year, the city placed the homeless in a sports arena, but the city currently does not have a shelter large enough for its needs.
The mayor also said that the Sullivan Arena “needs to be an entertainment venue.”
Last month Los Angeles reported that its homeless population grew 9% since the previous year. Los Angeles County currently has more than an estimated 75,000 homeless, with more than 46,000 in the city proper.
California has the largest homeless population in the country, with San Francisco seeing a 20% increase in its homeless population since the previous year. Other cities in the Golden State, such as San Bernardino and San Diego each saw more than 20% increases in their own homeless populations.