How do you end homelessness in Anchorage? You house people.
Before you say “duh,” let me explain.
Homelessness has been a chronic problem in Anchorage for decades. A lot of good services and resources exist to make homelessness a bit less miserable on a day to day basis, and to address the community consequence of homelessness.
A homeless individual in Anchorage costs approximately $60,000 per year in public services such as health care, temporary shelter, community patrol, and court expense. Shocking? It should be.
Swiftly housing someone and then connecting them with drug treatment, job placement and health services is only a third of that cost, $20,000. And, it builds self-sufficiency instead of dependence.
The Municipality of Anchorage, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, and United Way of Anchorage have joined forces, along with dozens of partners, to take this problem head-on and aim high for results over band-aids.
Data collection and individualized assessments of need has led us to understand and focus more clearly on the 400-500 individuals who are continually cycling through our homeless services system and who are otherwise unable to make it out of homelessness on their own.
By convening the partner agencies to act collectively and making initial infrastructure investments targeted to this population, we have successfully housed over 180 people since July 2015.
Homelessness is solvable.
People have responded to homelessness from different perspectives – compassion, religious belief, community safety, or just fiscal practicality. What’s different now is that we are all joined together to create a community system to make homelessness as brief and rare as possible.
Join the movement, visit www.liveunitedanc.org/homelessness.