Brothers

Next Stop, Perryville?

Words & Photos / Kirsten Swann

 

The Backstory: Last fall, I met Peter Kosbruk hanging out in front of Mountain View Credit Union 1. He told me he was homeless, but he was gonna to move back to Perryville and live in his brother's house. Fast forward to last week, when I spotted a guy who looked exactly like Peter, sitting in the exact same spot. It was the brother with the house. He was living on the street too. And they never moved back to Perryville. 


Peter

October 7, 2014

 

Sitting on the concrete wall outside the corner credit union on Mountain View Drive, 51-year-old Peter Kosbruck rested his leg and wondered when it would snow.

He and his girlfriend had been sharing a tent near Davis Park, but they returned to the campsite a day ago to find all their belongings had disappeared.

Four days ago, he twisted his knee so badly it became hard to walk.

A week ago, he began sleeping outdoors after the friends who let him share their home on N. Park Street suddenly pulled up stakes and moved back to Barrow.

Kosbruck himself comes from Perryville — he moved up to Anchorage about 20 years ago.

Now, as the nights grow longer and the snow creeps down the sides of the Chugach Mountains, Kosbruck said he’s thinking about moving back south. He has a brother who still lives in the little town on the southern coast of the Alaska Peninsula; a brother who owns his own home and invited Kosbruck to come stay with him. With no place to go in Anchorage, the house in Perryville is beginning to seem like his only option.

He said it’s just a matter of time.

“When the snow flies, I’ll hop on a plane,” Kosbruck said.

 


Richard

June 13, 2014

 

Richard Kosbruk has friends and cousins all over Anchorage.

“They know where I’m at, and I know where they’re at,” he says. “They say, ‘Richard, you got a house that’s already paid for back in Perryville, and so what are you doing out here on the streets?’ I just say, ‘Well, keepin’ an eye on my brother, you know, he’s the only one I got left.’”

His little brother, Peter, has lived on the streets in Anchorage for decades. Richard spent much of his life in Perryville — a community of around 100 people on the south end of the Alaska Peninsula. He worked and saved up enough to buy his own house. 

He tried to bring his brother home, but Peter never came. So about five years ago, Richard flew to Anchorage to find him.

“I didn’t have to stay out here, but I just wanted to be close to my brother, see what he’s all about,” he says.

“I don’t mind being out here, you know. I’ve lived in comfort all of my life, and being out here – to meet the people Peter knows, and see how everybody survives out here — that’s quite the experience, you know.”

Richard spent the first four years in Anchorage staying with family and friends, but “time runs out real fast when you don’t have a plan.”

Then he was out on the street with his brother.

At first, he stayed away from the shelters and the soup kitchens because he worked all his life and it didn’t feel right. At first, he hung to himself.

“It took me a long time to know everybody’s name; now everybody knows my name, too,” he says. “When I first got here, they’d all be crowded together and I’d be standing off to the side, just checking things out, you know, see what’s going on. They’d always tell me, ‘Get over here! Get over in the circle, man, you gotta be in the circle.’”

He got in the circle. That was a year ago. 

“It’s a long, never-ending story,” he says.

 

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