State asks for new housing units to help Alaskans in recovery

The state of Alaska wants more housing for residents recovering from opioid abuse.

The Department of Health and Social Services is asking for bids to set up as many as 10 residential facilities across different areas of the state. The federal funds will bring up to $2.042 million over two years for what are called “recovery residences.” The term applies to peer-supported homes for people in outpatient treatment or long-term recovery from addiction. As it’s laid out, the grant would serve up to 100 people over two years.

“What these funds are aiming to do is to really further develop the recovery support services that are needed across the state,” said Katie Chapman, who works on opioid treatment for the state’s Division of Behavioral Health.

The money can’t be used for new construction or significant renovations. Instead, the state is hoping to expand existing treatment resources or establish new recovery residences by paying operating costs. Part of the selection criteria is a sustainability plan. According to Chapman, there are already a small number of similar facilities up and running, but the state hopes to expand its capacity offering treatment in ways that differ from older models like halfway houses.

“These types of programs are generally peer-run,” Chapman said. “There’s an emphasis on recovery support activities, and so they’re doing things that involve them in the community and building connection.”

The areas targeted for new residences are Anchorage, the Fairbanks North Star Borrow, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Southeast and Southwest regions.

Alaska has seen a dramatic rise in opioid abuse over the last several years, with over 100 fatal overdoses attributed to opioids last year.

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