Alaska budget cuts could close transitional housing program

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy's proposed budget cuts could cause a transitional housing program to shut down, program administrators said.

    The Safe Harbor program provides housing for families with children in Anchorage, but the program could end by the summer if it losses state funding, Alaska Public Media reported Monday.

    The program operated by the nonprofit Rural Alaska Community Action Program gets about half of its funding from the state.

    "If we shut down our doors with the new fiscal plan, we would be putting approximately 140 people back on the streets," Safe Harbor supervisor Claudia Maria-Mateo said.

    The program houses 63 adults and 77 children, Maria-Mateo said. Operating the programs costs about $6 per person each day and residents pay some of the cost.

    The Republican governor has proposed cutting about $5 million in state grant funding to 14 safety net organizations. Dunleavy has called for the sweeping cuts to address an ongoing deficit estimated at $1.6 billion. He has also proposed full Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.

    Dunleavy has said the cuts are necessary to "right-size" government, match expenditures with existing revenues and preserve the state's savings.

    Earlene Franklin and her children moved into a unit at Safe Harbor last fall. She had lost her job and then lost her house, causing the family to move between hotels, shelters, and a friend's home.

    "It's scary. You feel like you're stable for so long — you're able to provide for yourself and your family, then all of a sudden it's gone," Franklin said.

    Getting into housing at Safe Harbor brought back stability for the family, Franklin said. She is employed again and looking for a new home.

    "No child should have to go through that, or feel scared or feel ashamed, but sometimes — sometimes stuff goes wrong," Franklin said.

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