ANCHORAGE – 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.
The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty. For100 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.
This demand letter can be found here: https://www.acluak.org/sites/default/files/cuddy_park_abatement_notices_of_appeal_letter_.pdf