ACLU of Alaska Calls on Anchorage to Stop Evictions from Homeless Camps

Evictions May be Unconstitutional while Anchorage’s Shelters are Full

Affiliate: ACLU of Alaska
August 3, 2016 4:00 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Alaska
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Anchorage, Alaska – The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska wrote to Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz this morning to ask his Administration to stop evicting people from homeless camps while Anchorage’s shelters are full. Joshua A. Decker, the executive director of the ACLU of Alaska, said, “We at the ACLU of Alaska recognize that Mayor Berkowitz and the Anchorage Assembly are trying to solve Anchorage’s homelessness problem. We applaud their efforts to secure long-term housing vouchers and their awarding over $1 million in grants yesterday to support essential services. Because these solutions take time, Anchorage’s shelters are full today. Since they cannot accept new arrivals, we ask Anchorage to stop evicting people from homeless camps as long as it’s clear they have nowhere else to go.”

In its letter, the ACLU of Alaska noted that the both US Department of Justice and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have stated that it may be unconstitutional to ban people from sitting, lying, or sleeping in public spaces when cities lack enough shelter space.

“We recognize that one can’t fix homelessness overnight,” Decker said, “but to the extent Alaska’s budget crisis or other factors are delaying Anchorage’s proposed solutions, such as housing vouchers, we hope that raising our constitutional concerns will help. In the meantime, we urge Anchorage to stop evicting people.”

For a copy of the ACLU of Alaska’s letter to Mayor Berkowitz, please visit:

The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty. For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to preserve and expand the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU of Alaska, founded in 1971, is one of the 53 state ACLU affiliates that strive to make the Bill of Rights real for everyone and to uphold the promise of the Constitution—because freedom can’t protect itself.

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