$50,000 donated to help Anchorage homeless residents move off the street
With the potentially deadly Alaska winter just months away, two Anchorage organizations made a combined donation of $50,000 to help house a number of the city’s homeless residents.
The Anchorage Home Builders Association and the Anchorage Community Foundation both wrote checks for $25,000 to the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness on Friday.
The coalition, run by United Way of Alaska, plans to use the money to help individuals and families currently without a home make a successful transition into permanent housing. Case managers will also be paid to keep the newly housed residents on a sustainable path forward.
“We all believe that everyone should have a fair and equal chance at housing, and when we come together, we can make sure that everyone has a roof over their head,” said president of United Way of Alaska Michelle Brown after receiving the checks.
Brown estimated the $50,000 donation could directly help about 20 families move into permanent housing. The assistance will build upon the work of the coalition, who Brown said has already helped house about 30 previously homeless individuals and families since January.
“For people that want to take advantage of the services that are offered, I think there's a really good shot at becoming stable and self-sufficient,” said Brown.
At the epicenter of the issue in downtown Anchorage, executive director of the soup kitchen Bean’s Cafe Lisa Sauder said she’s seen the problem of homelessness persist through the summer. She said it’s not uncommon to see new faces standing in line for a free breakfast or lunch.
“We're seeing an increase certainly in the usage of our services,” said Sauder, who notes the program serves about 940 meals every day.
According to Brown, the recession is weighing heavy on Alaska’s poorest residents, with about 16,000 families living on the cusp of homelessness.