Complex Care provides the chance to demonstrate the benefits of smaller, specialized shelters, thanks to our partners: Calista Corporation, Chugach Alaska Corporation, Doyon, Limited, the Municipality of Anchorage, Providence Health & Services, Rasmuson Foundation, and Weidner Apartment Homes.

In the 55 years that Catholic Social Services has served our community, we’ve learned a lot about what works best to create both long-term success and dignity for our neighbors in need.

When COVID began, Brother Francis Shelter recognized the need to reduce capacity to keep our guests safe and socially distanced. To meet the needs of our community, BFS specialized its care to serve elderly and medically fragile guests who needed services like transportation to and from medical appointments, one-on-one assistance from staff, and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.

That experience confirmed what we’d long believed: smaller, specialized shelters and facilities are the best solution for Anchorage’s homeless response system, designed for serving chronic needs. Smaller, specialized shelters implement everything we’ve learned at other shelters with our research-backed, trauma-informed care, providing care in a manner that reinforces guests’ dignity and agency that empowers them to get back to stability and long-term success.

Together with Clare House, Brother Francis Shelter, and Medical Respite, Complex Care broadens our network of services to support people experiencing homelessness at every stage of life, from the very young to the elderly, from workforce-ready to medically fragile.

*This story is part of Catholic Social Services’ summer newsletter. You can see our entire summer newsletter here.

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