Volunteers help homeless connect with housing vouchers

Published: Jul. 29, 2016 at 5:35 PM AKDT
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Brother Francis Shelter said it's had an unusually busy summer and been at full capacity for nearly all of it.

The shelter's executive director, Lisa Aquino, attributes the influx to a concerted effort to get people out of homeless camps as well as the high fire danger this summer.

Aquino said there's an effort underway to help people out of the shelter too.

Volunteers with AARP have been working with clients at Brother Francis Shelter and Bean's Cafe to apply for housing vouchers with Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

Aquino said over the past 10 years the number of clients age 65 and older has grown by more than 240 percent.

"It's astounding," Aquino said. "When we looked at our census we had 67 people that were 65 and older."

That's when the shelter reached out to its partners including the Municipality of Anchorage and the Aging Disability Resource Center in addition to AARP.

Volunteers have been working to get clients, especially the elderly signed up for housing before the end of the month.

Beverly Aubrey, a housing voucher applicant said she hopes to be one of the lucky ones selected in the lottery.

"In a shelter you can't get the proper rest you need and dealing with individual people and at least if you have your own housing you can have proper rest you are in so that you can be able to find work in the area that you're close to instead of having to have extra travel time," Aubrey said.

While Brother Francis Shelter is facing challenges meeting the need right now, Aquino said the influx also helps case workers keep track of those seeking help and helps notify them when housing becomes available.