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GuestHouse is now permanent housing for more than 130 formally unhoused individuals!

Weekly Digests

GuestHouse is now permanent housing for more than 130 formally unhoused individuals!

Purchase finalized to make downtown Anchorage hotel into low-income and supportive housing for formerly homeless

More than 130 people who have been experiencing homeless in Anchorage now have permanent housing after a deal closed last week to permanently transform a former hotel downtown into a low-income workforce and supportive housing complex. The city began using the building as an emergency homeless shelter and quarantine site early in the pandemic, and for the last few months it has been a transitional housing facility for homeless residents.

The long-awaited sale of the former GuestHouse Inn to a local nonprofit was finalized Sept. 12. Its residents are now in the midst of a shift as the property transitions into a privately-owned and operated housing program, after two years of being operated by the city.

A majority of people who have been living in the former transitional shelter as homeless clients will now be renters, leasing their rooms with the support of rental assistance and housing vouchers. Remaining vacancies are being filled by others experiencing homelessness who are moving in after staying elsewhere. Continue Reading…
 

By Emily Goodykoontz, September 23, 2022

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Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness Updates

The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) works with allies in the community to design, create, and lead the implementation of the Anchorage community plan on homelessness. More about ACEH

Emergency Shelter Task Force Recommendations & Cost Comparison

 

Last Monday, September 19th, 2022, the Task Force submitted emergency shelter recommendations to the Anchorage Assembly. View the full recommendations on the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness website: https://aceh.org/task-force (View highlights below.)

FACILITIES / LOCATIONS

The locations that met all the above criteria were then grouped into two tiers:

  • Tier 1 – Locations that can reasonably be placed in operation immediately (target September 30) and remain in operation for up to 90 days. Realistically Tier 1 locations are those that are owned by the MOA and those that are owned by existing shelter operators with the potential for immediate expansion subject to funding. The 90-day time period provides for the operator to have assurance for a minimum term of operations.
  • Tier 2 – Locations that have the potential to be placed in operation in approximately 90 days including those that need additional investigation to validate owner interest and property suitability. Tier 2 locations include primarily commercial properties and hotels (for housing conversions) where negotiations with owners are necessary and where physical site reviews need to be conducted to confirm suitability and safety. As potential Tier 2 locations are brought online the Tier 1 locations could be phased out to reduce community impacts depending on capacity needs and utilization.

Tier 1 Locations (in no particular order)

  • Golden Lion: This location has 85 units of non-congregate capacity. The units are already furnished, and the site could be turned on immediately with no impact to current operations or users.
  • Dempsey or Boeke Ice Arenas: Dempsey is the preferred location due to Ben Boeke’s downtown location and concerns about concentration of homelessness services downtown. Both have similar capacity (240-260) and costs associated with operations. Having two separate rinks provides spacing for subpopulations within the facility such as men in one rink and special populations – women, couples, LGBTQIA+, disabilities – in the other. The Eagle River Mac Center was discussed but not included as a recommended Tier 1 location due to its distance from the homeless population.
  • Sullivan Arena: This location is adequately sized, however in comparison to the other Tier 1 locations there will be increased operational expense because of facility layout challenges, less ability to control offsite impacts with proximity to the Chester Creek Trail, and uncertainty if the facility is under active repairs from the 2018 earthquake. Having two levels allows for separation of subpopulations within the facility such as men on the arena floor and special Rev Sept 19, 2022 – revisions are italicized Page 4 of 8 populations – women, couples, LGBTQIA+, disabilities – on the mezzanine. Operational expenses would depend on the total census and whether subpopulations can be accommodated in less than the full facility – i.e. only the arena floor or mezzanine.
  • Dena’ina or Egan Centers: These locations have adequate size however are less desirable due to their downtown location and the lack of shower facilities. If, however, these sites do warrant further consideration it is possible to use trailer mounted showers indoors and a company in Fairbanks has been identified that has such units immediately available.
  • Spenard and Fairview Recreation Centers: These locations meet the primary Tier 1 screening criteria but Removed from consideration and not recommended because the Mayor indicated removal from the Administration’s plan which means unlikely to be implemented even if recommended.
  • Existing program capacity expansion: Covenant House, Brother Francis Shelter and Beans Café have indicated that they have the potential to turn on additional capacity very quickly if funding is made available. These sites are not adequate for the total capacity needed but would significantly augment the overall emergency shelter system. There may be additional existing shelter providers who could also provide incremental capacity with available funding. Brother Francis additional capacity has already been funded by a prior appropriation.

View: Tier 2 Recommendations (pages 4-5)
View: Operational Costs (pages 5-6)
View: Site Evaluations

The above cost analysis shows that the most cost-effective option is housing in a MOA owned building or a purchased hotel conversion, particularly because they leverage federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds for rents.9 The second most cost effective option is a leased hotel for housing or noncongregate shelter. Congregate shelter in a MOA site and leased site congregate shelters are the most expensive options.
Above: the assumptions for the Cost Comparison Analysis

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Links for next steps

New Project Application Detailed Instructions
https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/CPD/documents/CoC/FY-2022-New-Application-Detailed-Instructions.pdf

Renewal Project Application Detailed Instructions
https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/CPD/documents/CoC/FY-2022-Renewal-Project-Application-Detailed-Instructions.pdf

HUD resources for Project Applications in e-snaps
https://www.hudexchange.info/news/e-snaps-applications-coc-program-competition/

If you have any questions regarding the funding recommendations, please contact us at grants@aceh.org.

Local Housing & Homelessness Highlights

Inspiring stories from the Anchorage community, news and information about housing and homelessness, and tangible ways you can get involved and help people in need.
View ACEH Members

Anchorage Public Library

September’s Connect: Mountain View Event, is tomorrow, Thursday 9/22 from 2-5pm at the Anchorage Public Library, Community Room

Join APL’s Community Resource Coordinators and their network of partners to learn how you can connect to resources for food, housing, health care, education, and more!

Contact: Ziona Brownlow, 907-885-9508, ziona.brownlow@anchorageak.gov

National Housing & Homelessness Highlights

National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)

NLIHC Releases Welcome to Vote Pledge and Celebrates National Voter Registration Day 

NLIHC’s nonpartisan Our Homes, Our Votes campaign today announced the Welcome to Vote Pledge, a joint declaration among affordable housing providers that are committed to registering and mobilizing their residents to vote. The initial list of pledge signers includes 22 organizations that collectively own or manage more than 257,000 units across 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The launch of the pledge coincides with the tenth annual National Voter Registration Day (September 20, 2022), a national, nonpartisan civic holiday dedicated to celebrating our democracy by registering as many eligible Americans to vote as possible. Signers of the Welcome to Vote Pledge commit to integrating voter registration into the lease-up and income recertification processes at their properties, encouraging nonpartisan voter education and mobilization activities in the 2022 election cycle, and undertaking all voter engagement work in a fully nonpartisan manner and in compliance with all relevant state election laws. The full text of the pledge can be found here.

“Through nonpartisan efforts to register and mobilize low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness to vote, we can further raise the profile of housing in the national conversation and continue to build the political will for bold solutions,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “As the Welcome to Vote Pledge demonstrates, many affordable housing providers are deeply committed to facilitating access to the ballot for all of their residents. We are grateful for their partnership on the nonpartisan Our Homes, Our Votes campaign’s efforts to close the voter turnout gap between low-income renters and high-income homeowners.”

Because renters move more frequently than homeowners, they must update their voter registration more often. This additional hurdle contributes to the gaps in voter registration and turnout rates between renters and homeowners, and – alongside transportation barriers, less flexible work schedules, strict voter identification laws, language barriers, polling place closures, voter purges, and other restrictive voter laws – even greater disparities between low-income and high-income people. The Our Homes, Our Votes campaign’s Housing Providers Council, a nonpartisan coalition of affordable housing developers and property managers, offers tools and resources that empower housing providers to organize accessible voter registration opportunities and get out the vote. Housing providers that are interested in joining this initiative can sign up here.

NLIHC encourages our partners to ensure that they are registered to vote and to participate in their communities’ nonpartisan voter registration efforts. Here are some additional ways to celebrate National Voter Registration Day:

For inquiries about the Welcome to Vote Pledge or National Voter Registration Day, please contact  ourhomes@nlihc.org.

We Want to Hear From You

If you have thoughts or suggestions, reach out and send us a message. Please let us know what you think.

Email us at communications@aceh.org

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