A program that distributes funds to assist homeless and emergency shelters across Alaska has been restored to Governor Bill Walker’s proposed capital budget.
As previously reported the governor initially cut funding for the Basic Homeless Assistance Program (BHAP), which would have impacted dozens of organizations, including Catholic Social Services in Anchorage.
On Feb. 18, Gov. Walker announced several changes to his proposed budget, including the addition of $9.2 million in order to restore funding for the homeless assistance program.
“Taking the money out was an unintended consequence of submitting a stripped-down capital budget,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Pat Pitney. “Putting the money back in is a cost-effective way to address issues that could be costly for our communities. It reduces overall costs in corrections and health and social services.”
The restored funds for homeless assistance helps agencies statewide including Catholic Social Services run programs in Anchorage like Clare House, which serves homeless women and children and the Brother Francis Shelter.
“Thank You Governor Bill Walker for the continued funding of programs that help the homeless in Alaska,” CSS said in a statement. “We appreciate your support in helping us compassionately serve the poor and those in need.”
The BHAP program provides millions annually to emergency shelters and transitional housing programs across Alaska. Last year 40 organizations received funding through the program, helping more than 13,000 of Alaska’s most vulnerable. Due to the state’s $3.5 billion budget crisis the grant was initially stripped from Gov. Walker’s capital budget in an effort to eliminate nearly every item that does not have federal matching funds.