Housing and Homelessness
Homelessness has many causes and faces. For some, it is a cycle through camps, shelters, and social services. For others, it is a one-time occurrence with a short duration. And others are somewhere in-between, needing some assistance to regain stability.
Planning across community boundaries, social service areas and public safety is crucial to achieve a safety net that works.
Mayor Berkowitz's Housing and Homeless Services coordination initiative has provided key community leadership and support through the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness and many housing and social services partners. The Mayor's goal has been to support the agencies participating in this work and to serve as a catalyst for missing or underdeveloped infrastructure needed in Anchorage.
Through #AncWorks, residents can report the location of homeless camps in Anchorage to the Anchorage Police Department for enforcement of "no camping" laws on municipal property. In addition, homeless individuals are contacted by a social worker embedded in the Police Department's Community Action Policing (CAP) Team and connected to needed services.
On June 26, 2018, the Anchorage Assembly approved an ordinance adding a 15-day zone-based camp abatement process. This change will allow for the posting of a designated area and will help to streamline the clearing and cleaning of illegal campsites in the MOA. The ordinance, as amended, is available here.
The Mayor's initiative is supportive of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness' Coordinated Entry work. Previously, we had separated families, single adults, and youth onto their own lists with their own housing resources. The Coordinated Entry system provides one community list for resources and referrals to prioritize access.
The Municipality is working with the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness to better document and understand the population experiencing homelessness in our community. Through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the Coalition hosts a data dashboard with statistics about homelessness in Anchorage.
Additionally, the City conducts a formal count of its homeless population twice a year. The Anchorage Police Department’s CAP team and local volunteers look for homeless camps and contact residents as part of their requirement for federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. During this count, officers and volunteers collect information which includes, name, date of birth, and whether the individual reported being housed or homeless. This Point-in-Time (PIT) count data is supplemented with data from shelters, soup kitchens, day services, the Anchorage Police Department, and local service providers.
With the support of the Rasmuson Foundation, the Mayor's Office now has a full-time Chief Housing Officer (CHO) focused on ensuring that Anchorage's housing stock is sufficient to meet the need of Anchorage's homeless population.
Pay for Success – In 2016, the Mayor’s Office, United Way, and the Mat-Su Borough received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to implement a “pay for success” strategy, a public-private partnership to finance the development and/or leasing of housing and social services that have demonstrated positive outcomes in assisting chronically homeless people to successfully live in the community.
Path to Independence – The “Path to Independence” housing program is a pilot project that includes financial assistance for housing and employment-related expenses, case management, and employment opportunities. The program will place forty individuals in apartments owned by Weidner Apartment Homes and Cook Inlet Housing Authority for immediate housing stabilization, followed by employment preparedness and connectivity to community support organizations.
(Details coming soon)
Facebook Live with Housing and Homeless Coordinator Nancy Burke, May 4, 2018
"Path to Independence" press release, April 16, 2018
"Pay for Success" press release, June 28, 2016