On November 21, The Arc of Anchorage celebrated the completion of a goal to provide more housing to Alaskans who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. Five years ago The Arc began the monumental task of building a new assisted living home each year for five years. To mark the occasion The Arc held an open house celebration at the last house.
Building five homes in five years seemed nearly impossible for a non-profit organization—and almost was. However, a community of private donors, businesses, other non-profits, city government, and foundations found a way to contribute to improving housing for Alaskans who experience disabilities. The final nail was driven in the final home this fall.
The Arc’s leadership, earlier this year, was unsure if the organization would be able to complete the “Five Homes in Five Years” campaign on time. Money was tight after four years of building and it appeared the final home would have to wait. However thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation work continued on the last home. Final touches were added to the house recently and it is ready for occupancy.
“Tremendous community support from more than 300 private donors, local businesses, NeighborWorks, the Municipality of Anchorage, and Rasmuson Foundation made this possible.” said Dr. Mary Van Haneghan, Executive Director of The Arc of Anchorage.
Assisted living is a vital service The Arc provides to Alaskans who experience intellectual or developmental disabilities; however, accessible housing is in short supply in Anchorage. A fully accessible house is one story with wide hallways, large bathrooms that include lift equipment and an open floor plan. The Arc decided building accessible housing was more cost effective rather than remodeling existing homes for sale in Anchorage. Currently, The Arc operates 32 assisted living homes throughout Anchorage. For the foreseeable future accessible housing will remain a critical need for Alaskans who experience disabilities but for now The Arc is celebrating an achievement.