City sees high demand from homeless for housing help

Published: May. 11, 2017 at 7:56 PM AKDT
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The City of Anchorage’s Homeless and Housing Coordinator says progress is being made to reduce the number of those experiencing homelessness.

“At the end of March we’ve counted 178 adults that have high disabilities that we’ve been able to get to safe housing since the mayor started his work in this area,” said Nancy Burke.

She says the city identified 118 people living without a home in January of 2016 but that number dropped to 79 in January of 2017.

“We’ve been able to house a social services coordination position within the police department and that person goes out with them and continues on connecting that person to social services after police encounter them,” said Burke.

The Integrated Services System puts people on one list but connects them with a range of services, including housing.

“The community list right now has about 400 people on it and it’s true there is definitely more need than there is resources. But one of the things we can do now, because we’re assessing every individual, if they don’t qualify for the type of housing that’s going to take a long time we can start looking for other resources,” said Burke, resources like hotel vouchers or help reconnecting with family.

This year Burke says the city is increasing resources focused on connecting people panhandling to work toward transitioning them to housing.