Two people smiling in front of a Pride Month decorated wall

Supportive Housing

Ending the experience of houselessness for young adults through affordable housing, mental health and wellness services, and life-skills development.

We are using research-based services to bring hope to the lives of transitional-aged youth (18–24) who are facing the most extreme of circumstances, such as houselessness and other risk factors including trauma, exploitation, and challenges related to mental health and substance use. 

Permanent Supportive Housing is an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) that pairs affordable housing with support services and addresses chronic houselessness and instability of those living on the street and who are most vulnerable and experience worse health outcomes, including a higher risk of death.

While there is a significant body of research around the effectiveness of supportive housing nationally, there is no current research demonstrating the effectiveness with the transition-aged youth population. VOA Alaska is using supportive housing as a critical piece of the overall strategy to end youth houselessness in our state as part of a HUD demonstration project.

Three people pose with pride month props, the one in the middle is holding a young child with a large grin.

Having someone in my corner, even when I didn't think I deserved that, meant so much.
You showed me that I was worth it. I couldn't have found the strength by myself.

VOA Alaska's Supportive Housing program is the first youth-focused permanent supportive housing in Alaska.

Supportive Housing connects clients with benefits, community resources, employment, education counseling, and life-skills classes to promote independence. Additionally, clinicians help clients address mental health and substance use concerns in support of healthy recovery and sustained housing. 

This program represents hope. Hope that with timely intervention, these young adults who are struggling with mental health and addiction can effectively exit houselessness and live healthier, more productive lives.

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project

The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) was a funding initiative created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2017 with an ambitious goal: find innovative solutions that would end youth homelessness.

In Anchorage, a Youth Task Force spearheaded a collaborative community effort to identify and implement projects that could close the gaps causing youth homelessness. With a vision to make youth homelessness “rare, brief, and non-recurring,” four new projects were created by VOA Alaska, Covenant House, and Choosing Our Roots.

Group of three people sharing a happy conversation
Madison enjoys lunch with some of her Supportive Housing team during a celebration of her achievements.

‘Not Just Housing:’ Partnering with Covenant House to End the Experience of Houselessness

Madison was 21 when she first visited Covenant House Alaska’s youth shelter in downtown Anchorage. Already struggling with suicidal thoughts when she was kicked out of her home, Madison found a supportive team committed to helping her heal and succeed.

Chris Reppel, a mental health clinician with VOA Alaska’s Supportive Housing program, was one of those people.* Chris first began visiting Covenant House in 2019 as part of an ongoing partnership between VOA and the shelter. While much of his work involved substance use treatment, mental health therapy, and crisis stabilization, he helped youth find job training and employment and was just another friendly face.

Read the Latest from the Supportive Housing Program