A Capital Effort in Housing Stabilization
When Alaska Housing began its new Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery program in February 2022, the goal was ambitious. Rather than simply find temporary housing for individuals facing homelessness, the program sought to move people into long-term rentals.
Juneau was one of the first cities to demonstrate dramatic results with Housing Stabilization and Recovery. A news report in April 2021 noted that Juneau, which has a population of 32,451, had an estimated 244 people experiencing homelessness. That meant there was an opportunity to help the city’s residents.
Collaboration a Key to Success
Alaska Housing began working with nonprofit organizations such as The Glory Hall that provide shelter and meals for Juneau’s homeless population. By utilizing funding from the program, as well as staff from The Glory Hall who serve as housing navigators to find and sign-up eligible clients, those efforts have generated a difference throughout the community, especially in the downtown area.
Once the program launched, the team of Juneau navigators started street outreach and shelter visits that quickly resulted in more than 40 people being housed in a hotel with kitchenettes. They continued to find additional transitional rooms, as well as more permanent rental units. As of mid-September, more than 120 people in Juneau have been moved from the streets to safe, stable shelter and long-term housing.
“Our ability to step in, cater to our community’s specific needs, and work with people every step of the way is incredible. I can’t emphasize enough how this program is a game changer, how it has stabilized our homeless community, and allocated resources in a way that makes sense and truly makes a difference.”
– Chloe Papier, Interim Executive Director of The Glory Hall
A Holistic Approach
Housing Stabilization and Recovery takes a holistic approach to the broader issues surrounding homelessness. That includes collaboration between Alaska Housing and nonprofit organizations that work directly with homeless populations.
The goal is to find longer-term housing solutions, which provides individuals time to gather the resources they need to stabilize their situations and move forward. Program participants receive stability assistance, moving expenses, rental deposits, and up to 12 months of rental assistance.
Juneau navigators help clients apply for rental assistance and address basic needs. They also connect participants with the Social Security office, secure a phone, provide a bus pass, and help with employment contacts and resume services.
“As a society, we need to consider all of the elements that contribute to an individual being homeless, as well as address the barriers to avoid temporary circumstances that are more of a revolving door than a solution.”
– Chloe Papier
Making a Difference
The Glory Hall opened a new homeless shelter in Juneau in 2021, which includes 43 sleeping stations and 20 overflow bunk beds. There was concern that once the federal eviction moratorium ended in late 2021 that the flood gates would open and the facility would be over capacity. However, Housing Stabilization and Recovery has helped to stem the tide and stabilize The Glory Hall’s budgets.
Long-term relationships that The Glory Hall fostered throughout the years with an area hotel provided an early boost to safely house patrons – in mid-September, more than 35 people were being housed there. The program’s flexibility has been a critical success factor and helped establish relationships with local landlords. Many landlords have commented that the program is easy to navigate, and are appreciative that there is paid staff available to offer assistance, check on participants, and provide other services.
The Glory Hall also had strong relationships with other organizations in town, such as the Front Street Clinic, which was crucial for referring people in need to the program. Collectively, the collaboration offers personalized solutions for clients.
“The ability to individually address the needs of people has been key,” says Papier. “We are familiar with those we are serving and the types of needs that should be addressed in order for them to function in the community.”
We recognize that some Alaskans may be in need of safe, quality, affordable housing. If you are facing homelessness or are in need of resources, we encourage you to contact Alaska 2-1-1. This free, confidential resource can help you to locate assistance in your home community. Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 or visit alaska211.org.