Anchorage Assembly passes new rules for homeless camps

a sign on a tree near tents
Anchorage city workers posted signs near Mountain View’s snow dump in 2023 warning campers they’d be back to clear the encampment. (Jeremy Hsieh/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday approved new rules for homeless campers this summer. 

Assembly member Felix Rivera introduced the measure, which prohibits campsites within a half-mile of a shelter and limits campsites to no more than 25 tents. It also reduces the amount of notice officials need to give to clear camps — a process called abatement — from 15 to 10 days. 

Rivera says the measure passed Tuesday night is a “light touch” version of an ordinance from Mayor Dave Bronson that the Assembly rejected in April. 

“We aren’t really adding new powers or responsibilities,” Rivera said. “We are simply saying: If we are going to be doing abatement this summer — which is a big if — here are some of the policy priorities which are critical.”

Assembly members debated the ordinance until close to midnight. Several expressed concerns over whether the changes would make a sizable dent in addressing homelessness, and some doubted if the mayor’s administration had a solid plan for abatement.

Ultimately, the ordinance was passed by a 9 to 1 vote. Assembly Chair Chris Constant was the sole no vote. He said he doesn’t think the new limits will do anything to help homeless people and residents living near large encampments.

“We do everything as a city and a society — it’s a bigger issue than Anchorage — to protect the comfortable and inflict the suffering,” Constant said. “That’s what this does more of, I think. And so I wish we could figure out how to reverse the curve and protect the weak. But this doesn’t do it.”

The Assembly also voted to continue the expanded capacity of 200 people at its homeless shelter at the former Solid Waste Services building until mid-October.

RELATED: Anchorage Assembly rejects a right-on-red ban in downtown

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

Previous articleAlaska commercial fishers will only pay to register vessels once under pending bill
Next articleMeet Scott Kendall, father of Alaska’s ranked choice voting and lightning rod for the right