ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage assemblyman apologized Wednesday after saying that the best way to house homeless people in the city is to “send them all to one place and put a fence around them,” The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
Assemblyman Chris Constant read from a letter he received regarding Anchorage’s plan to purchase four facilities designed to combat homelessness and substance abuse.
“‘Consider using the old Alaska Native hospital at 3rd Avenue to let them house there,’” Constant said, reading from the letter, according to the Daily News. “‘Here’s an idea: Erect a large fence, and if they venture to go outside of that area, take their dividend and their Native money. This way, it provides them their needs and keeps them, all the homeless people, in one area.’”
A rabbi, Yosef Greenberg, was in attendance to lobby against placing a treatment center near the Jewish Center, which he said could make the area unsafe.
“So the way might be send them all to one place and put a fence around them,” Constant responded, according to the Daily News.
The Daily News reported that those in attendance began shouting at the assemblyman.
“It was kind of offensive, what you said,” Greenberg responded.
Constant, who identifies as Jewish, apologized to the rabbi shortly after the meeting. Greenberg said he accepted his apology.
“He was exhausted, I was exhausted,” he told the Daily News. “I wasn’t sure what he was trying to say.”