Vulnerable Alaskans severely impacted by governor’s proposed budget
Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy proposed his budget on February 13, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in state spending.
More than 400 children, individuals and families receiving services from the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP), a statewide nonprofit, will be among the Alaskans most severely impacted by the Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
“While RurAL CAP has not had the time to understand the full effect the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Governor’s Budget will have on our community, it is evident there will be devastating impacts experienced by low-income and vulnerable Alaskans statewide, particularly rural Alaska Natives,” said Patrick M. Anderson, RurAL CAP Chief Executive Officer.
The reduction and elimination of essential community services threatens access to education, housing, transportation, jobs, and health and wellness services for those who need it most. These impacts are magnified in our rural and remote communities, according to Anderson.
Head Start, administered statewide by the RurAL CAP Child Development Division, prepares young children to succeed in school by promoting their development through services that support early learning, health, and family well-being. By defunding Head Start, up to one-third of the 684 children RurAL CAP currently serves statewide could be impacted, resulting in 228 low-income children losing access to vital Head Start services. Additionally, the proposed cuts would result in the complete elimination of Parents as Teachers home-based child and family programming to 60 families in three underserved rural communities. Parents as Teachers promotes the optimal early development, learning and health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.
RurAL CAP’s Supportive Housing Division helps some of Anchorage’s most vulnerable populations move to economic independence through affordable and supporting housing services by addressing the frequently interrelated problems of homelessness, disability, unemployment, drug/alcohol addiction, and mental illness through increasing access to affordable housing and supportive services for low-income Alaskans.
In FY2018, RurAL CAP served 547 individuals through permanent supportive housing and transitional housing for homeless families. Of those served, 185 were children. By defunding Homeless Services Programs, RurAL CAP would no longer be able to provide supportive services to vulnerable Alaskans residing in its supportive housing facilities including Karluk Manor, 325 E 3rd, Sitka Place, and Safe Harbor Muldoon. This could result in the displacement of over 500 vulnerable individuals and families experiencing mental illness, chronic alcoholism and other substance related disorders, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and at-risk children. Affected funding includes the Basic Homeless Assistance Program, Special Needs Housing Grant Program, Homeless Grant Match Program, and the Human Services Community Matching Grant. These funding sources provide essential operating grants for shelters and supportive housing.
Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors representing the public sector, the private sector, and the different regions of rural Alaska, RurAL CAP, a private, statewide, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to empower low-income Alaskans through advocacy, education, affordable housing and direct services that respect our unique values and cultures, will collaborate with our community and partners to ensure that all Alaskans have access to the vital services needed to promote our vision of Healthy People, Sustainable Communities, Vibrant Cultures.