December 15th, 2011
Contact: Rachel Saylor, Communications. 907-452-8251
Fairbanks, Alaska—Tanana Chiefs Conference will be hosting an opening ceremony for their new Housing First Program this week. The new facility, which will provide stable housing to the chronic inebriate homeless population of Fairbanks, plans to open its doors to the public in early 2012. “TCC is proud to be introducing this program to the community,” said TCC President Jerry Isaac, “It is important for us to help the people in our region who need it the most.”
TCC has been working on developing this project over the past few years, and at the 2011 TCC Annual Convention, the 42 member tribes of TCC passed Resolution No.2011-15, supporting the Housing First Program. When giving his address to the TCC convention body, TCC Health Director Victor Joseph stated that TCC has an obligation to help the vulnerable homeless population who suffer the most during the harsh interior winters. “I consider this our responsibility and due diligence,” said Joseph.
The program has also gained the support of many other organizations seeking to improve the community, including The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and most recently the Rasmuson Foundation who gave a capitol donation $450,000 to the facility. “The project is a wonderful example of many different organizations coming together in partnership to address an important community issue,” said Lee, “I am excited that this program is going to fill one of the gaps we have in our community in terms of care, but I am even more excited that we will be able to help so many people.”
Housing First Programs provide housing and support services for homeless individuals with substance abuse problems. Tenants of the facility will not be required to be sober while living at the facility. However, there will be access to support staff if they wish to receive services and treatment, but it is not a requirement of the program. The philosophy behind most Housing First Programs is that the homeless, once provided with a safe shelter, can then began to address other issues such as substance abuse.
Note: The opening ceremony of TCC’s Housing First Facility will be on Thursday, December 15th, 4 p.m. at the facility’s location, 1521 South Cushman Street in Fairbanks. The media is invited to attend. TCC Housing First Director Shirley Lee, and TCC Health Director Victor Joseph, will be available for interview.