With the help of generous funding partners, Catholic Social Services adds 83 more beds to Anchorage’s shelter capacity and helps reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in our community.

On a sunny afternoon in Complex Care, Tommy (green jacket) sits next to the large windows in the communal kitchen, enjoying the sunshine and watching the traffic on C Street.

Complex Care opened on June 6th at 303 West Fireweed Avenue as a facility to care for elderly and medically fragile individuals experiencing homelessness. The facility provides private bedrooms and access to community kitchens and living spaces, which creates a quiet, recuperative environment for guests with advanced needs to work toward permanent stability.

On Complex Care’s opening day, Tommy took a cab to a grocery store, bought some vegetables, and announced to Program Director Jessie Talivaa, “I’m going to make me something healthy to eat.” Tommy was a veteran cook on the Alaska Pipeline and around Anchorage, and he’s used the community kitchen to make several meals for guests and staff in the weeks that Complex Care has operated, including soups and stir fry.

Complex Care exists to meet a specific need growing in our community – homelessness among our medically fragile and elderly neighbors. Living in emergency shelter while trying to manage chronic medical problems like kidney failure, mobility challenges, or heart disease can be overwhelming, leaving guests with no energy left to work toward permanent stability. By providing a supportive environment and staff who can help manage their healthcare needs, guests at Complex Care find more capacity to work on long-term goals.

Within weeks of opening, Complex Care already saw the impact that such a recuperative environment can have:

2 guests are already permanently housed, and several more have been approved for emergency housing vouchers and are searching for apartments, including Tommy.

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

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