Fairbanks Native Association (FNA), a tribal non-profit organization is applying for the “Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals” opportunity. Our “New Beginning” project purpose is to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and evidence-based treatment and services for individuals, including with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health conditions, who are experiencing homelessness in order to reduce substance abuse and improve housing stability.
Alaska has some of the highest per capita rates of homelessness in American and disproportionate rates of alcoholism for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). As the temperature drops, the number of homeless deaths rises; the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) is one of the coldest regions in the state with temperatures dipping to - 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Image sleeping outside in such temperatures. Statewide, although AI/AN comprise 15% of the population, they make up 43.4% of homeless individuals.
The New Beginnings Project (New Beginnings) service population is AI/AN individuals, including youth, and families with substance abuse disorders or co-occurring mental health conditions who are experiencing homelessness. As an Alaska Native corporation, by mutual agreement we also serve American Indians. Further we do no refuse services to any race/ethnicity.
New Beginnings has two service tracks. All clients will enter services through the existing Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and Assessment units. The first track is for clients who screen positive for substance abuse and/or co-occurring disorders and have not attended treatment. These clients will be referred and placed at one of the residential or outpatient treatment units at FNA BHS. Ideally, these clients will then transition the New Beginnings Recovery Home (Track 2) upon completion of treatment. If space is not available, a Case Manager will work with clients in tandem with the My Place Rapid Rehousing project (My Place) to locate stable housing. All clients will receive six months of Peer Recovery Support Services. Track 2 is for clients who have completed treatment either at FNA or another agency, are in recovery, and are placed at the New Beginnings Recovery Home. These clients will be served through evidence-based Life Skills training, Gender Education and Therapy, Talking Circle, Peer Recovery Support, and a daily House Meeting. When Track 2 clients are ready for residency transition, the Case Manager will work clients and My Place to secure permanent housing.