​​Family Support

The perfect storm for Anchorage families, care providers and community organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a network of services essential to generations of Alaskans.

Local businesses and nonprofits engaged in family support systems, including childcare and education, struggled with high turnover, low profit margins and compounding community needs.

In a state where 1 in 5 youth attempt suicide, the tragedy, uncertainty and upheaval experienced by families because of the COVID-19 pandemic added enormous pressure to a burdened mental and behavioral health system.

Federal recovery funds directed to supporting families aimed to provide direct relief, intervention and prevention services to Anchorage youth, families and support systems. ​​​

VOA Alaska clinicians stand side by side against a wall of lockers

Recovery Spotlight

Volunteers of America Alaska & Providence Behavioral Health | $1,600,000

This collaborative project includes the work of Volunteers of America (VOA) Alaska and Providence Behavioral Health. 

A non-profit behavioral health organization, Volunteers of America (VOA) Alaska specializes in providing therapeutic services for young Alaskans and their families. VOA Alaska has served Alaskan families for more than 40 years, providing prevention, early intervention and support services in-person, online and in the community for little to no cost to the recipient.

Providence Health & Services Alaska (PHSA) has cared for Alaskans from birth to end of life for over 100 years. Providence Behavioral Health includes a psychiatric emergency department, inpatient mental health unit, crisis stabilization program, substance use disorder treatment, residential treatment program, outpatient services, and school based behavioral health services.​

Explore Services | VOA Alaska

Relief to Recovery

VOA Alaska was awarded $600,000 in ARPA funds at a time when their call volume had increased by 190% as Alaskan children and teens grappled with the all-encompassing complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Combined with $1 million in CARES Act funding awarded in 2020, the Municipality of Anchorage invested in VOA Alaska and Providence to be part of lasting positive change.

Using a multi-tiered system of support, VOA Alaska and Providence Behavioral Health leveraged federal relief funds to provide preventative and early intervention services as well as intensive theraputic supports within Anchorage School District schools. Funding provided relief to Anchorage families by expanding the network of schools participating in VOA Alaska and Providence services and increasing access to low- or no-cost mental health services during a time of unpredictable isolation, economic stress and emotional insecurity.​

Impact Where it Matters 

Of students receiving mental health services within VOA Alaska and Providence partner schools, 90% felt counseling services had helped them feel more supported and 80% felt the changes they were making helped them feel better about their future

Of those teachers, staff and administrators working at VOA Alaska and Providence partner schools, 89% viewed mental health clinicians as a positive resource at their school and 79% believe onsite mental health services have had a significant impact on student academic performance. ​


[My client] brought her report card to me yesterday. She went from having all D's and F's to ZERO D's and F's. She improved in every single subject and category!!!! I was so proud of her I took a photo of her report card and reached out to her mom. This is one of her therapy goals.

LeeAnn Mitchell, Clinician at Tyson Elementary School​


​Investing in Success

Building on the successes of VOA Alaska and Providence's collaborative work in the Anchorage School District amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Anchorage Assembly invested $1.7 million using 2022 ARPA federal relief dollars to grow the program and increase Anchorage youth's access to high-quality mental health interventions and services ​in the years to come. ​

​​​Recovery in Action ​​​​

Learn where ARPA federal relief dollars are making a difference.


ARPA 2021
ARPA 2022

ARPA 2021​ | American Rescue Plan Act

​Gift Card Vouchers for Anchorage Families through Business Boutique​​
​An opportunity exclusive to elligible residents of the municipality, funding offered Anchorage families and individuals gift card vouchers for basic needs such as groceries, diapers, medication and gasoline at Carrs, Fred Meyer, Natural Pantry ​or Red Apple. Learn more about the Gift Card Voucher program

Eagle River Food Pantry
​At a distance from many services offered in Anchorage, residents of Eagle River - Chugiak can access the Eagle River Food Pantry at Eagle River Presyterian Church. The pantry is a volunteer-led community resource supported by Eagle River Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church of Chugiak, Eagle River faith community, Love INC. Learn more about the Eagle River Food Pantry​​.

​Alaska Child Welfare Academy
Using ARPA 2021 funding, the Alaska Child Welfare Academy developed and aired TV, radio and social media campaigns to help recruit foster homes and foster youth adoptive homes for a year, given the terrible impact COVID-19 had on Anchorage youth in foster care. By bolstering the foster system for Anchorage youth, the Academy worked to reduce trauma and homelessness and empower greater resiliency, stability and success for future generations of Alaskans. Learn more about the Alaska Child Welfare Academy​.

Revive Alaska Community Services
​​Revive Alaska Community Services serves Alaskan communities through various humanitarian programs to meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those facing hardships. Funding granted through ARPA in 2021 went towards the repair, expantion, and upgrade of food pantry/storage and distribution facility to meet increasing demands in South Anchorage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about Revive Alaska Community Services.

Volunteers of America Alaska
​Having served Alaskan families for more than 40 years, Volunteers of America Alaska was awarded $600,000 in ARPA 2021 funds at a time when their call volume increased 190% as Alaskan children and teens grappled with the all-encompassing complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Combined with $1 million in CARES Act funding awarded in 2021, the Municipality of Anchorage invested in VOA Alaska to be part of lasting positive change.​
  • $300,000 VOA Gap Funds for FY22 to support existing sites through 6/30/22
  • $100,000 Providence Behavioral Health FY22 to support existing sites through 6/30/22
  • $100,000 assessment clinician available for rapid access to services available to community (including ASD sites where clinician is not on-site)
  • $100,000 outpatient mental health clinician for rapid access and services available to community (including ASD sites where clinician is not on-site)​

​Learn more about VOA Alaska.​


ARPA 2022 | American Rescue Plan Act

​thread Childcare Stabilization Grant Administration
​Child care is critical infrastructure in the MOA and is a sector that ensures all other work can happen. thread respectfully requests $9,168,500 million to support child care programs. thread will issue financial payments to licensed child care programs to stabilize their business, recruit and retain early educators and provide affordable child care for families. The aim is to ensure child care remains open and available. thread has experience supporting child care and has been focused on ensuring child care survives to support working families and our community now and into the future.

​Expansion of mental health services in schools 
​VOA Alaska is to receive $1,700,000 in funding support for continued Municipal support for VOA Alaska and Providence's School-Based Mental Health Program providing essential mental health services and supports to students, families, and school employees within 10 schools across the district with plans to expand to additional schools. In addition, Alaska Behavioral Health is to receive $150,000 to expand mental health services in schools and Anchorage School Based Health Centers (Christian Health Associates) is to receive $50,000 for administrative costs associated with mental health services in schools. 

​Girdwood Workforce Childcare Project
​Girdwood Inc. & Little Bears Playhouse are fighting the local workforce and childcare crisis by building a new childcare and learning facility. The current childcare building was built by volunteers in the 1960s, has structural issues and is not meeting the local childcare demand. The small capacity is limiting to Girdwood's success, as the workforce cannot go to work without adequate childcare. The project seeks to increase capacity to meet our community's needs and support Girdwood's workforce in an overdue and meaningful way.

​Camp Fire Alaska Child Care and Summer Youth Development Programs ​
​Camp Fire Alaska will provide school age youth from Title I schools, and families who are experiencing economic challenges and financial hardships, with access to 15,500 weeks of quality before and after school programs, as well as winter, spring and summer break programs from Aug 2022 to Dec 2024. Funding will allow youth and families who are experiencing the greatest economic pressures related to the pandemic with access to a variety of safe, nurturing and enrichment learning opportunities via licensed child care, day and resident camping to include leadership development for older youth.
​Identity Health Clinic Expansion ​$300,000
​LGBTQIA2S+ families in Alaska face discrimination, health inequities and a lack of access to welcoming, supportive and informed providers.  Currently our sole Primary Care provider is usually booked several weeks out, which can lead to patients seeking care elsewhere; we do not have a Therapist on staff.  This funding will support an expansion of behavioral health services and primary care services at the Clininc on Northern Lights.  With this potential expansion, we will add two Primary Care providers, two CMAs, and a Therapist which will fill the gaps in our service array.

​Alaska Children's Trust (ACT) Diaper Bank
​Parents are facing economic hardship and barriers to returning to work due to the high cost of diapers. Childcare centers require parents to provide diapers and children's health is at risk due to reusing diapers to save money. 
​Enlaces Alaska
​Enlaces Alaska will complete two projects to benefit the Latino community of Anchorage.  The first is to conduct a community-based needs assessment to better gauge what resources and services are most needed in the Latino population of Anchorage.  The second is to create school-based health centers in partnership with pediatric or family practices and the Anchorage School District.  With funding to create long-term partnerships within the community, Enlaces works to empower, educate and engage the Latino community.

​Access Alaska Inc. Transition to Independence for Youth With Disabilities
​The project will provide independent living services to youth with disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood. Access Alaska, a Center for Independent Living, works at the community level to reduce barriers, combat discrimination, and promote the development of needed resources, programs, and policies for people with disabilities. The agency provides information and referral, independent living skills training, peer counseling, individual and systems advocacy, and deinstitutionalization or nursing home transition. The program will provide young people with basic, adult life skills. 
​Early Learning for Everyone
​The childcare employee preparation program will conduct initial training of early childhood providers in order to address the childcare shortage in Anchorage.  Participants would be recruited throughout the year and engage in a brief two week training that would enable them to be ready to work for any childcare provider.   This program would provide a steady stream of entry level staff to ameliorate the labor shortage and allow childcare providers to employ staff with the basic initial qualifications ready for continued on the job training.  
​Alaska Adoption Services (AAS) Community Diaper Pantry
​AAS's Community Diaper Pantry serves families in the Anchorage area. We plan to mobilize and expand the pantry to better meet the needs in low-income neighborhoods in Anchorage and Eagle River. AAS currently distributes diapers/wipes to families in need, bi-monthly, from the AAS office. Diapers are an essential need for infants/toddlers and families suffering economic hardships due to COVID and inflation struggle to meet this need. This program addresses equity, quality of life, and economic development. 

​Mountain View Health Services Expansion
​Mountain View Health Services would like to continue to strengthen services to those who need health care the most. We are requesting funds for strategic planning and general operation funds to support the development of needed services.

​Cook Inlet Archers Classroom
​Grant funds will provide the means to purchase a portable building that will serve as an assembly hall/classroom. Furthermore, grant funds will provide for transport, installation and other major use requirements not limited to a removable foundation, primary and backup power generation, lighting, heating, and all associated labor costs. Additionally, funds will be used to purchase administrative, maintenance and training supplies that will further the goals of Cook Inlet Archers (CIA).
​Alaska Village Initiatives Hydroponics
​Alaska Village Initiatives will be building up to five different, small-scale, hydroponic systems to grow a variety of vegetables.  The program will train and share information with other organizations, and local community members to expand this program throughout the city.  Once the vegetables are ready to harvest, produce will be donated to local nonprofit organizations to feed our most underserved, vulnerable populations. 
​Girl Scouts of Alaska
Funding is dedicated to introduce girls who are underserved or in need financial assistance to Girl Scouts' programs and activities. The benefits of Girl Scouts crosses all demographics.  All Scouts are equally likely to develop the 5 outcomes regardless of social class, zip code, or ethnicity. (See the 5 outcomes below.) So, no matter where girls live in Anchorage or what their background, Girl Scouts can help them develop to their full potential.

​Airport Heights Unite: Restoring Family and Neighborhood Engagement in Education
​This project supports children and families, and addresses learning loss, in the community surrounding Airport Heights Elementary, a Title I school. It expands established programs that encourage engagement among students, educators, families, and neighbors. By offering many channels for engagement-Cultures and Arts; Extra-Curricular Activities; Community Gatherings; Place-Based Learning-the project restores social and cultural relationships severely disrupted by the pandemic.

​Livewire Lions Foundation Sight For Kids
​The Livewire Lions Foundation since its inception  has had programs and services that have address vision care to the community.  It was in the school year of 2013/2014 that we were able to bring a school based eye health program to  ASD Title I schools.  Since fall of 2013 over 138,564 school age children have had their vision screened by a volunteer Lions Club member.  The club has been able to accomplish this with only two PlusOptix Vision screeners and our wish with this funding is to be able to to purchase two additional cameras to expand this program and test more students.  
​Prince Hall Grand Lodge Masons
​In the 2021 ARPA package, fraternal organizations were eligible for $38K each. Prince Hall applied on time, but their application was accidentally overlooked and there is no more funding left in that project. 
​Friends in Serving Humanity (F.I.S.H.)
​FISH delivers 200-300 bags of food to 70-80 families in need each week. Due to COVID-19, the program has not been able to run two fundraisers that meet 40% of our annual revenue sources, and personal donations are down. We need funding to purchase bulk food items to meet the needs of families for the next year.  90% of proceeds from this grant will go directly to purchase food that will go to families.  FISH has no paid staff, so there is little overhead beyond the food we purchase.  10% will go towards office supplies and utility costs.

​Alaska Middle College School​
​​Funding is dedicated to providing on-campus food options for Alaska Middle College students. Alaska Middle College students are dual-enrolled ASD/UAA. They have unique and various schedules and often do not have their own transportation. This means they might be between the Alaska Middle College campus and UAA's from 8am-3pm without food unless they have brought it themselves. With this funding, the Middle College will purchase a commercial cooler and stock it with sandwiches, salads, etc. weekly.
​Hospice of Anchorage Navigating the Holidays
​This program provides bereavement and grief support event-in-a-box to go out around the winter holiday time to provide support and resource for community membe​rs that have lost a loved one in the past yea​​r. 

Have you benefitted from Anchorage Recovery federal relief programs?​

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