New Ordinance Allows Churches to Supplement Homeless Shelters

Len Anderson, APRN – Anchorage

In the past, winter has underscored Anchorage’s shortage of overnight shelters for homeless families.   Diane Ingles, director of the city’s Health and Human Services Department, says  a new ordinance offers a way to help.

Churches can now legally take in families on a night by night basis when temperatures reach 32 degrees or colder.  To participate, churches meet basic fire and health department requirements, such as having two trained staff on duty. Ingles describes the application process as pretty simple.  Once approved, the churches go on a list.

The department began taking applications last week.

Ingles said the Anchorage program will also provide a shelter network in case of a larger emergencies, forcing several families to evacuate their homes.

Download Audio (MP3)