'We think we'll find a way' -- Cold Climate Housing Research Center moving forward after budget cuts
A group working on affordable housing options for low income families across Alaska lost in the vetoes within the Capital Budget.
Still, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) in Fairbanks has been keeping its facility running with its own reserves since state funding ran out July 1. Now, the group says they have to innovate to regain $750,000 in order to continue their work.
"We're creative,” CCHRC founder and CEO Jack Hebert said. “We think we'll find a way. We know we're not alone in this struggle right now."
CCHRC has served Alaska for 20 years. They specialize in finding practical solutions to living in Alaska’s remote and harsh terrain. They also work with affordable housing organizations, such as the Cook Inlet Housing Authority, to provide homes for Anchorage's low income families. Hebert said up until this year, the state has maintained funding for the program.
"The state has supported us since our founding because they felt the value of our work," Hebert said. "Without a decent home -- and this includes all of our homeless folks and our most disenfranchised people -- we need affordable homes."
Hebert said they can realistically sustain their current operations without the added state funding through Jan. 1.
Griffin Hagel is the executive director of a regional native housing authority in Northern Alaska. He says CCHRC’s work has positive impacts across their service area, which experiences homelessness in the form of overcrowded homes.
"An overcrowding problem is really a homelessness problem, so I know a lot of those people go down to Anchorage where they depend on those services, which are outstripped there as well," Hagel said.
Hagel has faith in CCHRC’s resourcefulness and says they will figure out ways to keep their services up and running.
“I know they'll find a way forward, and I know they have a lot of support in the state,” Hagel said. “So I'm looking forward to seeing what emerges from this."
Channel 2 contacted the Office of the Governor for response but did not hear back before air time. The Office of Management and Budget listed in its explanation of the vetoed funding that "The state's fiscal reality dictates reductions in expenditures across all agencies."