In the winter of 2019, we started the season with ten churches opening their doors to house homeless families. Without this option, families would be out in the cold – literally. Once COVID-19 struck, the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter as it had been operating was forced to change for public health reasons. Families would still find emergency shelter through the Municipality of Anchorage emergency operations.
Last winter (2018/2019) churches provided 2,023 shelter nights to 84 families that included 131 children.
Our vision: No family with children sleeps in an unsafe place during the coldest months of the year.
In 2008, when we realized that there was not enough room at shelters for families with children, United Way of Anchorage reached out to the community to find a solution. Building additional shelter was not viable, nor expedient, and alternative solutions needed to be created.
The faith community generously stepped forward as they had the space and the congregation members willing to volunteer their time to provide safe and warm family sanctuary in the winter months. The municipality worked with the churches to ensure they were up to fire code for overnight stays. AWAIC and Alaska 2-1-1 provided support to callers looking for shelter, directing them to the churches. And an overflow solution was developed. Over the years, United Way has been working with partners to keep Anchorage families safe and warm, and connect them to resources quickly so that they no longer need emergency shelter.
Did you know:
- The devastating impact of homelessness on children may inhibit their physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
- The stress of homelessness on parents may contribute to unemployment, ineffective parenting, and poor health.
- 84 families used emergency cold weather shelter last winter (2018/2019). Those families included 131 children.
This team of dedicated organizations works to keep Anchorage families safe and warm while connecting them to help by:
- Operating the emergency cold weather system
- Providing transportation to shelter
- Connecting families to community resources
AWAIC, Alaska 2-1-1, Anchorage City Church, Anchorage School District – Child in Transition, Catholic Social Services, Central Lutheran Church, Changepoint Alaska, Christian Health Associates, Cornerstone Church, Covenant House, First Covenant Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Muldoon Community Assembly, Municipality of Anchorage, NeighborWorks Alaska, Providence Health & Services-In-Home Services, RurAL CAP, Saint John’s United Methodist Church, The Salvation Army, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church