The Trust and ACMHS conducted a review of the Anchorage area using the following criteria that are needed programmatically. The project will need to continue in another location if this one is not available so work continued on developing the program and identifying resources. The following factors have been considered about the current proposed property:
- A property that is for sale was identified.
- Proximity to social services or on a bus line that allows access to other needed services. Response – this location is on two bus lines that run both across town to the Dimond Center (route 7) and Providence Hospital and downtown to the Transit Center (route 36). Bus #36 provides access to Anchorage Community Mental Health Services’ Folker location and the Tudor site where the Consumer Directed Services and Wellness Innovation Center are located. Both of these bus lines also provide access to the Social Security Administration offices, Public Assistance and other offices located in the downtown area.
- Proximity to shopping and basic necessities – Bus 36 provides direct access to the Carr’s Center located at Benson and Minnesota. In this general area, there is also a new Walgreens being developed, several cafes, bookstores, gym and potential employment opportunities with Carr’s being one of the top supported employers in the state.
- Housing in a community that is safe. Spenard and Turnagain neighborhoods are safe, lighted communities and offer green space and bike trails/walkways for the residents to exercise. With the exception of one recent notable violent crime in an adjacent market rental apartment building, this area is very safe.
- Housing that is like others in the community. This location is adjacent to several other apartment buildings and providing a neighborhood of similar housing for the residents.
- Housing layout that is safe – housing programs with supportive services work best in buildings that have long hallways exiting onto a central hallway that provides for easy monitoring of the facility. The facility should also be conducive to easy monitoring of the external grounds – no high bushes surrounding the windows or walkways and plenty of locations for monitors.
- Rooms with amenities for residents – single bedroom or efficiency rooms are commonly used. A smaller space is many times preferred so residents can easily keep up on cleaning and chores, but still has a place to call home. A gathering and social place is needed to promote socialization and positive interactions around activities and meetings for tenants. A common area with a television is desired for social activities. A group meeting room is a positive feature in order to hold meetings and to have space to conduct activities. The current property has 7 office locations in the main building which will serve as common areas for tenants.
- A willing and patient owner. Given public concern about the projects to date and the long timeline for grant based programs, the owner is an important component to developing a funding strategy.