AMHTA Board of Trustees Directs $650,000 for Supported Housing in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE—During their regular meeting January 30-31, 2019 in Juneau, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board of trustees directed $650,000 in funds for two Anchorage housing projects. Trustees approved $150,000 for RurAL CAP’s Sitka Place, and $500,000 for the United Way of Anchorage’s Anchored Home Pay for Success project.
Permanent supportive housing provides safe and dignified housing as well as services to Alaskans experiencing homelessness that are the most difficult to serve due to alcoholism, serious mental illness and other co-occurring disorders. These trust-supported projects will house vulnerable beneficiaries who struggle to avoid homelessness; who disproportionately use emergency police, fire and paramedic services, homeless shelters and emergency rooms; and who camp in public spaces.
“We know that supported housing has a significant, positive impact on communities and for our beneficiaries,” said board chair Mary Jane Michael. “I’m glad we are one part of these important community efforts to reduce homelessness and connect our most vulnerable beneficiaries with the supports and services they need.”
With its Sitka Place project, RurAL CAP is planning to remodel its existing property into 51 efficiency units that can house more than one person, expanding capacity and accommodating couples. United Way of Anchorage’s Pay for Success project intends to significantly expand permanent supportive housing in Anchorage by adding up to 270 additional units. Trust funds are supporting the United Way of Anchorage in the “startup” phase of the project, and will help with supportive services for the first 60 program participants to support long-term tenancy and connections to other beneficial social services.
The Trust joins many other community funding partners in their support for these two projects, including the Rasmuson Foundation, a HUD/DOJ Pay for Success Grant, and the Municipality of Anchorage.
A longtime supporter of housing efforts, in the last two years the Trust has also funded numerous beneficiary related housing projects, including:
- $305,000 for Fairbanks Rapid Rehousing support to assist beneficiaries who are or become homeless with immediate supports.
- $700,000 total for the Juneau Housing First Collaborative’s Forget Me Not supported housing project, phase I and phase II.
- $135,000 to AHFC to expand homeless services and housing in rural areas of the state.
- The Trust is funding Housing and Homeless Coordinator positions in the Municipality of Anchorage, the City and Borough of Juneau and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
- $100,000 to the Volunteers of America for their Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program in Anchorage using scattered sites for permanent supported housing.
- $950,000 to AHFC to support the Homeless Assistance Program that supports dozens of housing projects and provides homeless services across the state.
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The current conversation Alaskans are having was spurred by Governor Mike Dunleavy’s initial budget proposal for 2020, which would cut funding to the AMHS by 75 percent and essentially end most operations by October.