Current State of Mass Care and Homeless Prevention & Response System

  • Share:
June 14, 2022

Anchorage, AK – The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) has created a systems map of the current state of mass care and the Homeless Prevention and Response System (HPRS).[i] This comes as a response to the recent announcement that the 245 individuals[ii] currently staying at the Sullivan Arena congregate mass care shelter will be required to exit to other facilities on or before June 30th. This document does not consider the approximately 200 individuals who are currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Anchorage.

“Beginning June 1, the Outreach and Coordinated Entry teams have noticed a sharp increase in individuals living unsheltered or in places not meant for habitation. Those living unsheltered have reduced access to food, showers, and other essential hygiene supplies. There has been a lot of frustration expressed by individuals that are seeking shelter services,” said Ryan Chernikoff Outreach Coordinator with the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. “Outreach teams have reported that some individuals who have been working towards housing, employment, and other essential aspects of stabilization have lost their bed at the Sullivan Arena permanently for missing curfew. The Outreach teams have also heard from individuals that this has been the first time they are living unsheltered. We have also gotten reports that verbal abatement notices have been given to people camping in areas around Anchorage.”

View the document here: HPRS Systems Map

This document will be kept current, with the next update to be expected on June 13, 2022. ACEH is committed to keeping the community informed about the current situation as it continues to evolve.

“Looking at the capacity within the HPRS and even allowing for some shifts based on housing placements and continued capacity at the mass care non-congregate facility, there is not sufficient shelter capacity to welcome those who are currently unsheltered, and it is likely without a sheltering plan after June 30th that more individuals will become unsheltered.” said Meg Zaletel, Executive Director for the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. “This doesn’t account for any system inflow[iii], including families who continue to encounter no available shelter capacity. The situation is dire as shelters are often the primary source for receiving food, access to hygiene services and case management. A substantial increase in unsheltered individuals will be very hard to serve, but we must find a way to meet their basic needs.”

“As we look at our available options and what is being reported by providers, sufficient shelter is simply not available,” said Terria Ware, Systems Improvement Administrator for the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. “Additional units, available funding, and an extended timeline for non-congregate shelter through mass care at the Aviator is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of these individuals.”

In addition to an analysis of available shelter, the document puts forward these outstanding policy questions for the Municipality of Anchorage:

1. Are camps still being abated? If so, what shelter space is being used to justify abatement?

2. Will the Muni provide food and water to those unsheltered? If so, how and who will pay for it? When?

- ACEH is willing to coordinate outreach and case management teams to coincide with distribution points and schedules.

3. Are hygiene facilities going to be provided for unsheltered individuals, including a plan for refuse services and handwashing?

4. Is there a transitional location identified between the closure of the Sullivan Arena and when the Tudor and Elmore location will be made available? If so, where, who is the operator and what is the funding source?

5. Will there be additional funds for outreach based on increased unsheltered individuals and expected inflow to unsheltered homelessness with transportation to better assist individuals with placement when openings occur?

[i] This map is comprehensive but is not exhaustive. It reflects the programs often most available for individuals experiencing homelessness. More resources may be added in subsequent updates.

[ii] According to the Municipality of Anchorage Shelter Occupancy Overview dashboard, 06/9/2022

[iii] Inflow numbers for all individuals entering the HPRS for March was 304 and April was 295.

Sasha Zimmerman, Director of Communications, (907) 782-6214