ANCHORAGE (KTUU) As Anchorage continues its state of emergency over homelessness, funding for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's homeless assistance program has been reduced, but the AHFC says there's a silver lining.
The sign outside the Alaska Housing Finance Corporations Family Investment center
“The homeless assistance program experienced a budget reduction, through the veto, of $3.6 million,” says Stacy Barnes, the AHFC Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs. “However, the special needs housing grant program, which works together with these homeless programs, actually received an increase of $2 million."
The governor's press secretary, Matt Shuckerow, says the funding, which is more than Dunleavy's original budget vetoes left, is a result of discussion among Alaskans.
“These reductions and their impact certainly led to tremendous input and feedback, and as a result he took that feedback and has included it in the budgets he will be presenting." Shuckerow says.
Others say these cuts, coupled with cuts to funding for addiction treatment will only exacerbate Alaska's homelessness problem.
“When you start cutting funding for these other things, it necessarily flows, and you have this cascade of problems that occur from that,” says State Senator Bill Wielchowski, D-Anchorage. “And so yeah, people are seeing more homeless people out there."
Regardless of the funding, Barnes says the help is out there for people who need it.
“Those individuals, those Alaskans, should absolutely seek help, because those shelters provide an important service, and the resources are there to be able to do that." Barnes says.
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