New Anchorage housing project wins $15K grant
It's been just over a year since the municipality rolled out a pilot program to address homelessness in Anchorage. Path to Independence is a collaboration between private companies, faith-based community groups and the city to provide rapid rehousing for homeless individuals and families.
Now, it's won even more money to do it. The project, which includes support from First National Bank Alaska, asked for Alaskans to vote and help secure a $15,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank.
"We anticipate that that investment from Federal Home Loan Bank, leveraging First National's membership, will more than likely go to benefit more households in year two," said Natasha Pope, community relations manager for First National Bank of Alaska.
So far, stakeholder groups say Path to Independence is on its way to meet its year one goals by October. Those included housing at least 40 people.
Executive director of Catholic Social Services Lisa Aquino says they've already housed 28 households and over 50 individuals since they started placing people in housing last October.
The program's 22 partners, including Weidner Properties and Cook Inlet Housing Authority as well as oil companies and nonprofits, contributed more than $650,000 for the first year of the project.
Path to Independence does not rely on state funds, but did receive $25,000 from the Municipality of Anchorage.
"We don't know what's going to happen in the coming year with the municipality," Aquino said. "They certainly are going to be looking at challenges with the state budget cuts, but they've been a great partner so far."
Aquino says Path to Independence is an example of how faith-based communities and private organizations can come together with local government to help fill a need — although Aquino says the gap left by state budget cuts for homeless services as a whole is too wide for nonprofits and CSS to fill alone.
Last month, Aquino says, 14 CSS employees received layoff notices as a result of state budget cuts, including case managers tasked with providing long-term support for individuals after rehousing.
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