JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A group of four nonprofit organizations in Alaska’s capital have been awarded a grant of more than $860,000 to counter homelessness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Juneau Empire reported Friday that the grant from the Alaska Housing Financial Corporation will be shared by the Juneau groups following their joint application to the corporation.
The award is part of a federal coronavirus recovery fund emergency solutions grant to help prevent those affected by the pandemic from experiencing homelessness.
The Glory Hall, Gastineau Human Services Corporation, Family Promise of Juneau and the Alaska Housing Development will split the $868,230 award.
Alaska Housing Financial Corporation spokesperson Stacy Barnes said some of the recipients may be experiencing hardship for the first time.
“They may have never received this kind of help before,” Barnes said. “Trying to navigate can be difficult for sure.”
While there is a yearly grant to which the organizations normally apply, the federal coronavirus recovery funding is new as the government tries to address the impact of the pandemic, Barnes said.
The housing corporation received $5 million in federal funding to cover all of Alaska’s regions besides Anchorage, which received separate funding, Barnes said.
Juneau was one of seven areas that applied for the funding and each region was capped at $1 million, Barnes said.
Across Alaska, the average income loss by applicants who applied for rent or mortgage assistance was about $22,000, Barnes said.
The grant administrators sought programs with broad popular support and client follow-through. The City and Borough of Juneau submitted a recommendation to approve the grant for the programs, Barnes said.
“The money will help go towards helping with the increased staffing, rental of the extra space and the appropriate (personal protective equipment) for staff, as well as cleaning supplies,” Glory Hall Executive Director Mariya Lovishchuk said. “All the things we need to operate during COVID for two different buildings.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.