Private organizations commit $40 million toward effort to end homelessness in Anchorage
The unprecedented commitment from Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Providence Health and Services Alaska, Rasmuson Foundation, and Weidner Apartment Homes was only possible because of the state’s action earlier this year to invest in programs and services that help people end the cycle of homelessness, according to one of the leaders behind the new investment.
Diane Kaplan, president and CEO of Rasmuson, said in a press release, “We are in this together with our public and nonprofit partners, who already are running shelters, working with street youth and sending teams into homeless camps. We still need government dollars but on top of that we can provide new funding streams to create a path out of homelessness for everyone. After a challenging summer, we now have a stable base of state funding for the coming year. These private investments wouldn’t be possible without it.”
While the Alaska House Majority and most state lawmakers continuously supported a budget that protects grants for service providers and other funding essential to fighting homelessness, the Dunleavy Administration initially vetoed millions of dollars in funding. The Legislature then included a provision in the capital budget to restore funding, and the governor eventually allowed a partial restoration.
“Business leaders, health professionals, and most elected officials recognize the dire need to invest in programs that will end the cycle of homelessness,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage). “Cooperation among all stakeholders, along with stable and consistent state funding for efforts to address homelessness, is the only way to make lasting changes. This is a welcome and significant step in that direction.”
“The State of Alaska must always do its part to make sure we invest in programs and services that will address the public health crisis Anchorage is facing,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage). “The House Majority is committed to making that happen.”
“In my area, many families live on the edge, and on any given day in Anchorage, 1,100 people have no place to call home. This is a trend we can reverse by working together. Not only will we improve the lives of many people who are struggling, we’ll save money, increase public safety, and boost economic productivity,” said Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage).
Communications Director, Alaska House Majority