The ACLU of Alaska is taking action on behalf of houseless individuals currently camping at Cuddy Park and facing unlawful abatement as a result of the city’s failure to provide indoor shelter. On Monday, the civil rights organization filed 13 individual appeal intent notices and sent a demand letter to the Municipality of Anchorage in response to a series of abatement notices posted at the Midtown park.
“The federal courts have made it clear that a city cannot punish homeless people for sleeping, existing or camping when the city has failed to provide sufficient indoor shelter,” said ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Ruth Botstein. “What we’re seeing in Anchorage is cruel and unusual punishment -- a blatant violation of the Eighth Amendment.”
The Municipality closed its only low-barrier shelter last month without a contingency plan, leaving hundreds of people without anywhere to go.
“Municipal officials are failing at one of the most basic responsibilities that governments have - to protect our residents. Abating camps when people have nowhere else to go violates constitutional law, denies basic human dignity and comes dangerously close to criminalizing poverty,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Mara Kimmel.
The ACLU of Alaska intends to vigorously litigate to protect Anchorage’s unhoused population against continued cruel and unusual treatment by the Municipality.