Salvation Army to take over homelessness management at Centennial Park

The Salvation Army in Alaska will be taking over the onsite management of client care at Centennial Park Campground.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:55 AM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 9:48 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Salvation Army in Alaska will be taking over onsite management of client care at a northeast Anchorage campground that has been designated for homeless populations since late June, according to a statement from Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration.

“Our goal is to come out and help identify any gaps, identify any needs, help those that are living out there in the campground or staying out at the campground, and how can we find them permanent housing. How can we find them treatment if they want treatment, or if it works out, and we can get them back to where they need to go, help them to make that happen,” said Captain Kevin Pope from the Salvation Army Alaska Division.

In a press release from a spokesperson with the administration, the Salvation Army will assume duties over the “next 48 hours” by collaborating with current site managers to integrate and streamline the services being offered at the campground, including living supplies, meals, donations and case management.

“We have people on the ground out there now, triaging, and assessing,” Pope said.

The statement said that the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department will continue offering security and an onsite team in efforts with the municipality to keep the area safe.

“You know, cannot complain. It’s better than at the Sullivan. They are taking good care of us,” said Joseph Link, who is staying at Centennial Campground.

The camp, which was unceremoniously closed to the public on June 24 and restructured as a place to shelter homeless populations through the end of July, has been managed mostly with help from the Coalition to End Homelessness, Bean’s Cafe and the Parks and Recreation Department.

But earlier this week, the coalition withdrew its support, alleging poor safety and uncontrollable conditions at the campground.

The coalition said Monday afternoon in a message to service providers, in part, “Due to the continued lack of site control and dangerous conditions at Centennial Park, ACEH will no longer direct or coordinate outreach teams to Centennial.”

The coalition said that because of the announcement regarding the Salvation Army as an additional provider at the campground, they will reassess the safety and camp conditions in 24 to 48 hours and go from there.

Bronson was quoted in Tuesday’s release as being satisfied with the progress made so far.

“As someone who has visited Centennial almost every day since the Sullivan closed, the tremendous improvements over other unsanctioned sites in Anchorage are obvious,” Bronson said. “I truly believe we are at our best when we set aside politics and work together, and I’m grateful for the many stakeholders who share that vision.”

This story has been updated to include additional information.

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