Cold Weather Shelter Update
Municipality, Beyond Shelter & Local Churches Facilitate Shelter for Sober Individuals and Homeless Families
Contact: Lindsey Spinelli
ANCHORAGE- In 2009, the Beyond Shelter Steering Committee was formed by agencies and faith-based communities concerned that some of Anchorage’s homeless families did not have a safe place to stay, especially when the weather turns cold.
Responding to this community need, in 2010 Mayor Sullivan proposed the City’s Cold Weather Plan and enabling ordinance to the Assembly, which passed it unanimously. The Plan allows the Director of Health and Human Services to designate applicant churches as temporary cold weather shelters.
The Municipality of Anchorage and the Beyond Shelter Steering Committee have engaged churches in the community to provide cold weather sheltering for families when existing traditional shelters are full. With the help of church volunteer’s, churches designated by the Director of DHHS offer overnight shelter during inclement weather.
As families continue to struggle, the need has grown. Last winter two churches provided shelter for 78 people. This winter, more than 100 people have already found shelter through the cooperative efforts of four churches, Anchorage City Church, Central Lutheran Church, ChangePoint, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Additional churches will soon be joining the effort.
The success of the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter System is due to the collaborative efforts of the Municipality, the current four churches, Beyond Shelter’s partner agencies and all of the volunteers. The partners include AK 2-1-1, AWAIC, Catholic Social Services, ASD Child in Transition,
Crosspoint Community Church, Christian Health Associates, Drawbridge Consulting, New Life Development Center, NeighborWorks Anchorage, The Salvation Army, and United Way of Anchorage.
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.