Kodiak’s Brother Francis Shelter for the homeless is receiving a $231,126 grant from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. Director Monte Hawver says the shelter has been receiving this yearly grant since the mid-90s.
“And it’s an over-umbrella grant that basically oversees the entire structure of the shelter. It pays for everything from food to staffing to our homeless prevention program, which is a really important part of what we do here in Kodiak to keep families from becoming homeless.”
Hawver says the individual homeless rate is fairly stable in Kodiak, but the Brother Francis Shelter also operates a homelessness prevention program, and that a large number of families are at risk.
“Basically about 1 out of 10 families are struggling here in Kodiak and in danger of becoming homeless.”
He said the family homelessness problem is growing faster than ever.
“We started out a number of years ago with out homeless prevention program, which was one of the first in the country. And through the years, I can remember when we helped 50 families. I can remember when we helped 100 families a year, and I thought, ‘My gosh, that’s gotten – it’s crazy.’ Last we helped 243 families. And unfortunately as the economy changes so much, and the fisheries change so much, more and more people get left behind. And it’s just become a terrible situation for quite a few families here in Kodiak.”
Though grants like the one from the AHFC are vital, Hawver wants the community to remember that their help is important, too.
“The homeless assistance program grant takes care of the basic needs of the shelter, and the basic programs. But we do rely on individual and organizational local grants in order to take care of all the needs of the families of Kodiak and the individuals.”
The Brother Francis Shelter is just one of 28 organizations in 13 Alaskan communities to benefit from the AHFC’s grant award, which totals more than $5.9 million.
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