Municipality Implements Cold Weather Plan for the Homeless
Churches, social service agencies may now apply to be temporary shelters when temperatures dip below freezing
Contact: Allison Biastock
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 providers.
“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 different.”
“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.