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Municipality Implements Cold Weather Plan for the Homeless


Churches, social service agencies may now apply to be temporary shelters when temperatures dip below freezing

The Municipality of Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services is now accepting applications from
area churches and social services agencies to be designated as temporary cold weather homeless shelters for
sober individuals and families. The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved the enabling ordinance (AO
2010-46) for the Cold Weather Plan in June of this year.

Under the Plan, designated shelters may open their doors to the homeless when the outside temperature
reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. To be eligible to act as a shelter, organizations need to apply
through the Municipal Department of Health and Human Services. Applications will be reviewed by the Health
Department and Anchorage Fire Department; all applicants must adhere to existing heath and safety codes
and regulations.

Last winter, several family shelters were at or above capacity, some with wait lists. Allowing designated
locations to act as temporary cold weather shelters will help to ease the pressure on existing family shelter

“I am pleased to see this element of the Homeless Plan go into effect,” said Mayor Sullivan. “This is just one
step in the process of providing for the homeless in our city, and it should relieve some of the pressure on our
social service agencies. Our community has always stepped up to help others, and this development is no

“With this plan in place, the Municipality can now safely and legally take advantage of the offers of assistance
we receive from community partners,” said Diane Ingle, Director of the Anchorage Department of Health and
Human Services. “We are fortunate to have organizations in the municipality that will take in homeless
residents; it truly demonstrates our city’s sense of community.”

Applications to become an emergency shelter are available online on the Department of Health and Human
Services website www.muni.org/health along with information on the Cold Weather Plan policies. For more
information regarding the Cold Weather Plan, please call Darrel Hess, Homeless Coordinator at 343-4698.
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