Today, the Municipality of Anchorage rescinded its order to abate homeless camps in and around Davis Park following an ACLU of Alaska lawsuit. The municipality confirmed in a court filing that it 'has removed the June 22, 2023 abatement notices and will not proceed to abate Davis Park on July 5th, 2023'. The Municipality reversed course shortly after the ACLU filed appeals on behalf of thirteen Alaskans whose constitutional rights were violated when they were ordered to vacate the park but were not provided alternative shelter space. 

"The Constitution is clear. The Municipality cannot force individuals to leave public spaces when there is no place for them to go," said ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Ruth Botstein. "The rights of people in Davis Park are protected for now, and we will continue to make sure that our government does not infringe on individual protections afforded to all by the U.S. Constitution."

Federal courts have held that punishing people for existing, sleeping or camping in public places when there are no indoor options available violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Over the past month and a half, the Municipality has posted abatement notices across Anchorage without providing indoor shelter options. 

"We are committed to working with our community to find real solutions to the housing crisis in ways that protect people's civil and constituitional rights," said Mara Kimmel, Executive Director for the ACLU of Alaska. "The decision to rescind the abatement notice in Davis Park is a step towards respecting people's rights."