Alaska mayor’s plan to send homeless to warmer cities gets pushback in Hawaii

The mayor of Alaska's largest city says he's planning to send some of the state's homeless to warmer cities, citing a lack of shelter space as winter approaches
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 5:55 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 1, 2023 at 5:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The mayor of Alaska’s largest city says he’s planning to send some of the state’s homeless to warmer cities, citing a lack of shelter space as winter approaches.

The program is already getting pushback, including from Honolulu’s mayor.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson recently said he’s considering flying some homeless people out of the state. While he didn’t name any spots, there’s concern Hawaii could be on the list.

“It’s sad that we had to get to this, but we’re here to save lives. That’s my job. This last year was the most deadly year in history for people who are homeless and dying on the streets,” Bronson said.

“When people approach us and want to go to some place warm or they want to go to some town where they have family or friends that can take of them ... we’ll support that.”

On Tuesday, Honolulu’s mayor pushed back against the idea — even though Hawaii wasn’t named.

“What’s new about it is a mayor coming out and saying I’m going to do this purposely to save lives instead of coming up with a solution in his own backyard,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

The conversation comes as Hawaii grapples with a worsening homeless crisis of its own.

Last year, nearly 6,000 people experienced homelessness in the islands. The vast majority of those are residents and 1 in 4 are Native Hawaiians.

Bronson said the program is still being figured out and he hasn’t officially decided which cities will be chosen, but he has floated Los Angeles as a possible initial location.

HNN also reached out to Gov. Josh Green’s office for comment, but was told he is traveling.