$150,000 grant will help move 10 Anchorage families permanent homes

Published: Nov. 13, 2019 at 6:50 PM AKST
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Ten families in Anchorage are set to move into permanent housing after multiple Alaska nonprofits received a $150,000 grant.

The grant was donated by ConocoPhillips and gives funds to the Providence Community Housing Grant, a project that has helped 93 people move into permanent homes over the past three years.

Lisa Aquino, the executive director of Catholic Social Services, spoke about the grant at the Clare House and the importance of getting homeless people into homes. “At its heart, the way we solve homelessness is getting people into housing,” she said.

Financial assistance is received for six months alongside help from a case manager for 12 months. “When hard times come again, we hope that homeless won’t be the outcome,” Aquino said.

Angela Bierman, a case manager at Catholic Social Services who started working at the Clare House, spoke about the impact permanent housing can make for a person’s stability. “Some people are close to giving up hope and they don’t know what to do, being able to do that is an amazing opportunity,” she said.

Colder weather presents more immediate challenges for Anchorage’s homeless population.

On Tuesday, Bean’s Cafe opened its emergency cold weather shelter that is set to provide 150 beds. According to the Anchorage Health Department, the cold weather shelter will be open until April 30 at a cost of $440,300.

Aquino says the Brother Francis Shelter is also operating at capacity, serving 240 clients nightly over winter.

In late June, the governor vetoed state funds for homeless services before Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz declared a civil emergency. Funding from the Anchorage Assembly was released but a gap exists.

“Because of the cuts, it will be hard to provide the level of services we have without additional support,” Aquino said before describing that work is being done at the state and local level into the next legislative session.

“We will be strongly advocating for the clients to make sure their voices are heard,” she said.

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