Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A view on the homeless situation from our northern neighbours in Ketchikan

Ketchikan also faces challenges
on housing issues, a look at
how one group is addressing them
As they settle in for their housing discussion tonight at Prince Rupert City Council, the council membership may want to take a few moments to see how our neighbours to the north are dealing with a similar situation of the need for shelter for those at the most risk.

Reverend Evelyn Erbele a representative of the Ketchikan Overnight shelter and Ketchikan Day Shelter appeared at a recent Ketchikan Council session to provide a snap shot of the use of the shelters in the community.

As part of her review, she noted for the members that in October the Overnight warming shelter had seen 47 individuals for a total of 255 visits through that month. 

The Ketchikan Shelter hosted 34 men and 15 women and is restricted to those who are 18 years of age and above. Those that seek shelter who have children under the age of 18 are directed to a pair of Alaska programs that are in place for emergency situations.

Some of the challenges that the Shelters face and how their operations work were explained, as well as the coding system that they use as those using the shelter are listed by, from those who walk in on their own, to those brought in by the police or other emergency services.

Reverend Erbele also noted the support of the larger Ketchikan community, making note in particular of the local Salvation Army and Ketchikan Community Indian elders groups who provide for meals for those that use the Overnight Shelter.

As for the Day Shelter in the Alaskan City, 294 individuals made use of the Ketchikan option, making some 6,502 visits through the year to this point. They can access washroom facilities, a shower, food and receive information and assistance from those that work at the facility.

The shelters operate with four employees, with online training programs ongoing to assist staff members in the operation of the shelters and the programs that they operate out of them.

The Ketchikan facility is operated through some financial assistance from the City of Ketchikan, which approved a grant of 80,000 dollars in September to be put towards salaries and program operation. The group is also in the process of applying for State of Alaska mental health grants, as well as for Federal Assistance to assist their operations.

You can view the report to Ketchikan City Council from their Video Archive, it starts at the one minute, thirty six mark and carries through for close to fourteen minutes.

Public Radio's Leila Kheiry provided a bit of background to the presentation and the housing issues in Ketchikan with this report.

The Ketchikan shelter also has a Facebook page, which provides more items of note on how the community is approaching the issue of homelessness, and the level of support that they received from residents.

Some further background on the Day shelter operations and community support can be reviewed through this YouTube feature that the Ketchikan Church posted in 2013.

More notes on Prince Rupert's Housing situation and the increasing calls for affordable housing and shelter options can be reviewed from our Housing archive page here.

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