• Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    A panhandler stands in the median on the Seward Highway on January 21, 2015. Anchorage Police have been discouraging handing out money to panhandlers as the money is primarily used to purchase alcohol, they say.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Ken Nelsen gets a hug from Margarita Jhaveri while they drink at a deck overlooking Campbell Creek, a popular drinking hangout, on November 25, 2014.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Anchorage Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Crotty approaches a woman laying on the deck beneath a statue of Captain Cook in downtown Anchorage. Crotty arranged for the woman to be transported by Anchorage Safety Patrol on November 8, 2014.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Albert Edwards panhandles at the entrance to Walmart on Benson Boulevard. He said he’s been homeless for five years. On the coldest nights, he makes sure to drink enough to be admitted to the Anchorage Safety Center, the sleep-off facility adjacent to the jail, he said. There he can stay warm inside for up to 12 hours.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Moxie Kelila lived for years homeless in Anchorage, drinking every day. In November 2014, he said he was working hard to maintain his sobriety, stay away from temptation and make a lasting change to his lifestyle. “I (went to sleep-off) quite a few times. I won’t lie, yeah… They know me by name. But now, I look at them and they look at me. ‘Hey, Moxie, we never see you in about three or four months.’ I said, ‘You’ll never see me again, knock on wood.”

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Anchorage firefighter Rob Bowler warns a man about the consequences of violent behavior before transporting him. Firefighters say they’re familiar with the man, and have had so many confrontational encounters that they now require police presence to respond to him. The man, apparently panhandling on Dimond Boulevard complained of abdominal pain. AFD says it had transported him about 40 times in 2014.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Anchorage Safety Patrol staff member Britany Gilmer checks on three men on the ground of a downtown Anchorage alley on November 20, 2014. Gilmer says it’s not unusual for a person to go to the Safety Center multiple times in one day.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Howard Jensen shares socks given to him with other homeless people camped out along Karluk Street near 3rd Avenue on October 29, 2014. Anchorage police say they try to prevent illegal camping in parks and wooded areas around the city in an effort to push people toward services that will help them get off the street. That has resulted in more people camped near Bean’s Cafe and the Brother Francis Shelter.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Anchorage Police officer Sally Jones posts a notice at a homeless camp in the woods near 46th Avenue and Bering Street in Anchorage on November 7, 2014. The sign notifies campers that all items at the illegal camp may be removed in 15 days. Jones says she has mixed feeling about her ability to get chronically alcoholic people off the streets. “We’re dispersing the problem. What we’re trying to do as a police department is, ‘Okay, you have a problem. You need to get assistance,’” she said. “The problem is, a lot of these people don’t want it. They just don’t want to follow the rules. They want to live for free.”

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Kenneth Parker said he proposed to his wife at the Campbell Creek viewing deck where he and and other homeless folks often hang out and drink. His wife, known to her friends as Mabel K., died in late summer 2014, he said. “She was very important in my life. Very important. I don’t feel complete without her,” he said.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Anchorage Fire Department paramedic Adam Peterson radios an Anchorage hospital after picking up a man at the Anchorage Safety Center on October 18, 2014. The man, whose hands are in soft restraints while he is transported, said he drank two fifths of R&R whiskey, as he said he does regularly.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    An empty bottle of Rich and Rare whiskey is frozen into the surface of Campbell Creek on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Daniel Sopcak and Betty Sanchez Sopcak share a beer as they walk toward Daniel’s appointment at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services on December 10, 2014. The married couple is homeless on the streets of Anchorage together.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    After being paid $20 for a small drywall job he did, Daniel Sopcak buys a 10-pack of high-alcohol beer on Tudor Road, then tucks them in his coat and bag on November 26, 2014.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Looking for a place to sleep for the night, Daniel Sopcak spend time in the yard of an office building in the university-medical district in Anchorage on December 9, 2015. He calls this spot “The Penthouse” because of it’s view from a hill.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Depressed and deflated, Betty Sanchez Sopcak and Daniel Sopcak spend a few moments inside a McDonalds restaurant on December 10, 2014. Betty had recently been released from a hospital. Daniel said his feet were hurting from frostbite.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Debbie Flowerdew, case manager with Pathways program of Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, shops with Scott Brown at Value Village to prepare him to travel to a residential treatment program in Sitka on November 18, 2015. Flowerdew said there’s a lack of residential treatment options for alcoholics who are trying to get off the street. Brown, who had been living homeless in Anchorage, said he wants to try to make some changes. “I’ve felt trapped for quite a while,” he said.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Karluk Manor resident Glibert Andrewvitch prepares to bowl on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at Center Bowl. Andrewvitch has been a Karluk resident since the “housing first” facility opened in 2011. He says he has reduced his drinking dramatically since then.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Gehl Henio, a former resident of Karluk Manor now lives in an assisted living apartment in Mountain View. “Before I moved into Karluk I was on the streets. I had no sense of well-being. I didn’t know who I was. I was constantly frightened…the only time I wasn’t frightened was when I was either drugging or drinking,” she said.  Photographed on November 24, 2014.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    A melted area of frost on the decking of a viewing platform at Campbell Park shows where a man had been sleeping. The Deck, as it is known, is a popular drinking spot for homeless people in the area. Photographed on December 9, 2014.