By SARAH LAPIDUS
Wells Fargo presented the Kodiak Brother Francis Shelter with a $20,000 donation Tuesday to support the nonprofit in its effort to fight homelessness.
The donation is part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s $3.4 million Alaska NeighborhoodLIFT program that aims to boost homeownership through supporting service organizations throughout the United States, according to a Wells Fargo news release.
“We are grateful to Wells Fargo and the lift program,” said Dana Myers, resource specialist at the Brother Francis Shelter. “We work hard to serve the homeless and working poor in our community. It’s nice to know that we will be able to continue.”
The shelter, which can comfortably house 35 people, will use this grant to purchase food and supplies for the shelter, and to pay utilities.
The city donates water and sewer to the shelter.
Purchases will include foods for breakfast and dinner. The shelter serves about 30 people per day, Myers said. The sandwiches served during lunch are donated by volunteers.
Myers noted that meals are not merely clients staying at the shelter, but for anyone who is hungry.
The funds also will be used to buy daily supplies for the shelter’s clients such as towels and laundry and bathing supplies.
On average, clients stay about two weeks at the shelter, Myers said.
“We keep soap and toothbrushes in the supervisors’ desk. Anybody can ask for what they need,” she said.
The donation will help the nonprofit stay afloat following significant state budget cuts.
“The state funding cut did result in us losing $45,000 this year,” Myers said.
Although the shelter’s homeless prevention program is fully funded this year, funding for next year remains up in the air. With the organization’s already tight budget, more cuts could mean decreasing the homeless prevention program budget, according to Myers.
“We are waiting to see if the governor does it again,” Myers said of potential budget cuts next fiscal year.
The homeless prevention program helps about 300 families avoid homelessness, helping pay for emergency rent, utilities, landlord mediation and security deposits.
Because of the program, the nonprofit hasn’t seen any families stay at the shelter, Myers said.
Other services at the shelter include counseling with case managers from Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center who visit the shelter a couple of times a week to meet with clients.
The Brother Francis shelter is just one of the Alaska nonprofits that received funding through the NeighborhoodLIFT program. Other organizations in Anchorage, Bethel, Juneau and Nome also received donations through the program. In total, the company is donating $200,000 to service organizations in Alaska.
This donation is part of the company’s commitment, through its foundation, to donate $1 billion through 2025 to address the U.S. housing affordability crisis, including homelessness, available and affordable rentals, transitional housing and home ownership, according to the Wells Fargo news release.