ANCHORAGE, Alaska,– Weidner Apartment Homes has joined with Alaska’s biggest hospital, biggest private funder, and biggest private health insurer this week to pledge $40 million over five years to help turn the corner on homelessness.
Weidner is the biggest private landlord in Alaska and will commit $10 million over five years to a program to bring new tools and build on existing resources that already save many lives, the shelters, meal programs and case management services run by nonprofits.
“We are involved because we believe everyone deserves a safe place to live that they can call their own. This private investment means Anchorage will be able to do more than it has ever done to help those in need. We already know that even short-term help of the right kind makes a huge difference in keeping people housed,” said W. Dean Weidner, founder and principal of Weidner Apartment Homes.
Joining Weidner in the partnership is Providence Health & Services Alaska, ($15 million over five years); Rasmuson Foundation, ($10 million over three years); and Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, ($5 million over three years).
It is the most significant private investment to address this critical issue in state history. The money will mean more housing and other help for individuals and families. Fresh strategies that have made a difference in other cities, such as accurate tracking and follow-up of everyone who is experiencing homelessness, are central to the effort.
This is a new funding partnership and brings opportunity for others to join. The Anchored Home plan will guide the work. Funding partners also will work with the Municipality of Anchorage and nonprofits to make sure investments target gaps in services. In this collaborative effort, key investments will be coordinated among the partners. A new tool that hasn’t been utilized in the past is the creation of a Landlord liaison position. This unique aspect of the program offers landlords a single point of contact for all issues, making their participation simple.
The vision is a healthier community where homelessness is rare, brief and one-time, and where any resident who needs a home is housed. In the coming weeks and months, organizations will announce specific projects and programs that build on years of work by nonprofits.
Weidner’s earlier commitment to partnering on homeless assistance was the Anchorage-based Path to Independence program P2I which started in 2018. Partners include landlords, case management, referral, job training/education and supportive service providers, and funders, including the 12 native Alaskan corporations. P2I engages private landlords as partners, investors, and proponents in addressing homelessness, quickly transitions individuals and families experiencing homelessness into housing and relieves pressure on crowded shelter facilities, combines housing interventions with supportive services and employment opportunities and promotes long-term self-sufficiency.
“I’m proud that many public and private partners were involved in this effort, including funding from all 12 regional Alaska Native Corporations,” said Weidner. “Dedicating funds to this P2I effort in the upcoming years is a priority for me. I look forward to successfully transitioning this pilot project into a scalable program which can be replicated in other cities throughout the lower 48 that are experiencing similar homelessness issues in their communities.”
Founded in 1977, Weidner Apartment Homes is a privately held real estate investment, development and management company with properties in 12 states and four Canada provinces. In Alaska, its portfolio of more than 5,225 apartments spread over 44 communities make it the largest private owner of apartments in the state. Weidner is headquartered in Kirkland, Wash.