20-bed transitional housing opens in Mountain View
The effort is aimed at helping Anchorage men who experience housing barriers.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A 20-bed transitional living home opened its doors Friday in Mountain View. It’s the second property operated by Molua Smith Becke’s Second Chance Support Services, which provides men facing housing barriers with a place to live and eat.
“There’s a need to help individuals with chronic mental health behaviors in Anchorage,” Becke told Alaska’s News Source during a tour of the property on Peterkin Avenue.
Becke moved to the United States with his family from Central Africa. He grew up in the Republic of Cameroon, the son of a father who’d impressed upon his children the value of turning no one away.
“Our parents taught us how to leave our doors open for everybody,” Becke said.
When Becke arrived in Alaska, Pastor Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Temple helped Becke navigate life in Anchorage and provided him with a place to stay for a few months, Becke said. He tries to pass that on by providing Anchorage’s hard-to-house individuals the opportunity to live within family neighborhoods.
“These people, they can live in any neighborhood. We just need to have somebody that will be accountable for them, and we need to have a structured program that they can get engaged [with],” Becke said.
Before starting his transitional living business, Becke held jobs at different facilities as a caseworker, which he said allowed him to witness first-hand the service gaps in Anchorage that can cause a cycle of homelessness that is difficult to break.
“I have seen people with mental health being placed in motels, or sent back to the shelter from API or jail with lots of medications that they cannot manage, and I don’t believe in that, because it’s not helping them,” he said.
Becke’s efforts are separate from the Municipality of Anchorage’s vision to invest $22 million in commercial buildings that would become sites for living, treatment, shelter, and rehabilitative services.
He worries the city’s large plan risks “warehousing” people who experience problem behaviors. Living within a community and feeling like part of a family are ties Becke said helps stabilize vulnerable men. It also encourages them to envision something for themselves other than homelessness, he said.
Becke’s clientele comes from a variety of backgrounds. They may be men aging out of youth psychiatric treatment, someone newly released from prison, or someone who, for other reasons, cannot maintain stable housing.
Many of his clients, he said, need someone to be accountable for them — a listening ear, someone to share a meal with someone to help redirect them if they get off track.
Planned upgrades to the three-story multiplex include a fence, basketball hoop, and chicken coop. Staff will be on-site, and clients will have access to shared bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and common areas.
“We believe in investing in people. And showing them that love is very important,” Becke said.
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