Homelessness Looks Different Throughout Alaska
In rural areas individuals struggling without shelter often find haven inside the home of another family member or friend. Without a nonprofit shelter and in some of the most extreme climates on earth, families don’t have another choice. That results in overcrowding and that leads to unhealthy air quality and environments that are not good for individuals’ overall mental health and well-being.
In our urban communities where shelters are more common, we find that there may be enough beds for Alaskans to sleep for a night or two or more, there aren’t necessarily the services that can assist those struggling individuals to get back to their own homes and ultimately, independence.
It’s why I was pleased to attend the announcement that Providence Alaska, Premera, Weidner and Rasmuson Foundation are committing $40 million over five years to address homelessness. This is great news for Anchorage!
Homelessness in our hub city is a visible problem but I’m concerned that those on the street corners will draw focus from children who are also affected by homelessness and moving from school to school, as many as five times in a year, as their parents seek stability.
No one agency or organization can address the needs for Anchorage’s 1,100 homeless folks alone. Both private and philanthropic solutions will bring new energy to behavioral issues that are critical to solving homelessness. Anchorage’s “Anchored Home” plan endeavors to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time. We are glad to continue to do our part whether through our public housing or sharing lessons from our best-practice voucher programs that serve veterans, survivors of domestic violence, youth aging out of foster care and others, and we congratulate the funders on their partnership.
Bryan D. Butcher