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Anchorage shelter revives 30-day rule

Posted: October 15, 2013 - 12:52pm  |  Updated: October 16, 2013 - 12:06am

ANCHORAGE — An Anchorage homeless shelter is bringing back a former rule requiring people to be working on a plan to get permanent housing or leave within 30 days.

Brother Francis Shelter will make people leave after a month if they have not complied with shelter rules, KSKA reported Tuesday. People can return in 30 days and begin the clock again.

Shelter spokeswoman Ellen Krsnak said too many people have been using the shelter as a residence.

“The 30-day-in-30-day-out policy acknowledges that the shelter is an emergency shelter not intended as a long-term residence,” she said. “We’re encouraging people to move on to permanent housing.”

The time policy dates to 1993, but the rule was lifted two years ago. That’s when the city raised the temperature at which shelters took in homeless indefinitely from 32 to 45 degrees.

With the 30-day rule lifted, the shelter was operating at capacity and there were increasing problems with security, she said.

With the policy reinstated, people staying at the shelter can get an extension to stay longer if they are working on a plan to get permanent housing.

“They need to meet with the case manager and follow a guide, a housing guide for a permanent housing,” Krsnak said. “Part of that is employment; it may be treatment.”

The city raised the temperature limit and shelter lifted the time limit in 2011 to prevent outdoor deaths.

Shelter officials have since held two town hall meetings to let people know about the revived rule, Krsnak said. One is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Bean’s Cafe, a soup kitchen next door.

“We want people to be safe, we want people to be warm, but we also want them to look at Brother Francis as an emergency shelter as its intention,” she said. “But again, we have to have some way to move forward with a permanent housing plan.”

The shelter has increased case-management hours, she said. It also is allowing drop-in appointments to help people find permanent housing.

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