Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

Housing First

Residents shovel snow  at Karluk Manor. Photo by Emosi Tiai

Residents shovel snow at Karluk Manor. Photo by Emosi Tiai

Housing First program serves individuals experiencing chronic homelessness struggling with multiple disabilities including mental illness, physical disabilities, chronic health conditions, and often times co-occurring addictions. The Housing First Case Manager assists the individual in applying for housing subsidies including RurAL CAP’s Sponsor-based Rental Assistance, mainstream resources and income benefits. The goal of the program is to assist participants with locating, securing and maintaining permanent housing and achieving self-sufficiency.

Case Management Services

The Housing First Case Manager provides intensive case management to the participants by linking them to services such as substance abuse, medical, dental, and mental health treatment, crisis prevention and intervention, coordination with landlords and housing providers, prescribed medications, food pantries, community reintegration activities, community Twelve Step and other support groups, employment, re-connection with family and/or other relationship support, and educational activities. Housing First Case management services are funded by the Municipality of Anchorage.

The Cost of Homelessness

Life on the streets is a costly proposition. For individuals, homelessness exposes them to more violence, more time in harsh conditions, more communicable diseases, poorer nutrition and poorer overall health. For society, the economic impact is enormous. Chronically homeless individuals disproportionately use emergency medical services, police and fire response, Anchorage Safety Patrol (ASP) pickups, the criminal justice system and social services. The estimated cost in Anchorage for a chronic homeless alcoholic is more than $60,000 annually.

Nationally, the total annual cost to society from all sources to support the most vulnerable homeless, late-stage chronic public inebriates is about $50,000 per person in medical, criminal justice, emergency and social services. RurAL CAP worked with the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to determine that the cost to society for one year for the most frequent users of emergency services in Anchorage prior to entering the Homeward Bound program was more than $60,000. RurAL CAP is able to house members of this population for less than half that.

Housing as the Solution

Research shows that the longer a person is without a permanent home, the higher the financial cost to society. Many in Anchorage’s chronically homeless population suffer a mental illness, or disabilities, in addition to alcoholism, that makes maintaining housing a challenge. Studies conducted on Housing First show that individuals provided with a clean and safe place to live along with supportive services use fewer emergency services, commit fewer crimes and utilize more preventative care. Based on credible research and the growing need to address this problem, the Rural Alaska Community Action Program developed the Karluk Manor project. 


Funded with the support of the Municipality of Anchorage

equalhousinglogosmaccessibleWCEqual Housing Opportunity Statement: We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.