With funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing voucher demonstration project, AVCP Regional Housing Authority has enough money to pay for housing for 20 homeless military veterans. Now the job is finding vets in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta interested in housing that is completely paid for by the program.
“So far we have, you know, we went to the homeless shelter and we got one from there,” says Catherine Cedars, the program manager at AVCP RHA. “And then today, in one hour alone, I got at least four just looking around town.”
Cedars is focused on getting as many veterans to apply as possible. People, for instance, living in shelters, living with relatives, or who are generally constantly moving from place to place with no place to call home.
People like Elia Sallaffie, a Bethel resident who has been homeless since his house burnt down several years ago.
"Right now wherever I lay my head is my home," says Sallaffie, "and I'm very fortunate that I have my Marine brother and childhood friend that's allowing me to stay, you know... I don't know for how long."
AVCP RHA estimates that there are 20 to 25 homeless veterans living in Bethel, and up to 50 across the Delta.
To sort through the veterans to find those that qualify for housing, Cedars is waiting for help from the Veteran's Administration.
“Right now we are waiting for a case manager,” says Cedars. “The VA is hiring a [case manager] for the Bethel region and they’re having a hard time filling it.”
Meanwhile, Cedars is going to the Bethel Winter House homeless shelter and other places in town to tell eligible candidates about the program.
Right now there is no deadline for applications.