Path to Independence
Feature written in July, 2019
FHLB Des Moines Member: First National Bank Alaska
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska and home to the majority of the state’s homeless population.
The recent highlighted visibility of this issue has led to increased commitment to find solutions to homelessness and provide those affected with housing options and opportunities to move toward self-sufficiency.
Path to Independence (P2I) is a public-private partnership and housing pilot program working to stabilize housing in Anchorage. A group of stakeholders saw the potential to engage community partners, especially private landlords, in a new way.
The goals of P2I are to engage private landlords as partners, investors and proponents in addressing homelessness; quickly transition individuals and families experiencing homelessness into housing and relieve pressure on crowded shelter facilities; combine housing interventions with supportive services and employment opportunities; and promote long-term self-sufficiency.
Weidner Apartment Homes is the largest private landlord in Anchorage and helped catalyze the project, then some core partners further established the need for the innovative approach to engage landlords and funders.
The first P2I participant moved in on October 5, 2018. As of May 31, 2019, P2I has housed 28 households with the goal to house 40 total by August 31, 2019.
There is reportedly an average of less than 30 days between referral and housing placement, and 100% of those who made the six month mark remained housed until then.
Participants in P2I receive up to six months of financial assistance to help with rent and utility payments; one year of case management; and connection to employment opportunities, including with participating landlords.
About 75% of participants will be employed at the end of the intervention, and 100% of them show increase in earned income at exit.
These improvements are made possible by the engagement of private landlords. Landlord liaisons provide a single point of contact for landlords and act as a connection between landlords, case managers and participants, and the landlord risk pool guarantees landlords 100% of the security deposit and a percentage of damages that may exceed that deposit.
In addition to the successful housing of 28 households, P2I has promoted its partners to think critically about how the community can collaborate more effectively and with more impact.
P2I’s partnership with Catholic Social Services – a fiscal agent and case management provider, Cook Inlet Housing Authority – landlord liaison supervisor and administrative supporter, Weidner Apartment Homes – major funder and participating landlord, and 22 other funding partners, including FHLB Des Moines member First National Bank Alaska, allow for a collaborative effort. .