A recent by the University of Alaska Anchorage study shows a positive trend at Karluk Manor, which opened its doors nearly two years ago to chronic inebriates.
Earlier this week, the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies at UAA released preliminary findings of the program that has drawn plenty of criticism from nearby Fairview residents. Karluk Manor has primarily used a “housing first” model, which has provided stable housing for homeless alcoholics.
"It's not surprising to us, but it's still tremendously gratifying that we're seeing the results from the excellent care that is provided," said Melinda Freemon, RurAL CAP.
After almost two years, Freemon says residents at Karluk Manor have not only reduced their alcohol use by more than 35-percent, but are also reconnecting with family, taking advantage of health care options and joining the work force.
"They actually have began to integrate into the community and have goals that perhaps when they were living on the streets they would not have been able to do," Freemon said.
Despite the positive developments shown by UAA's recent study, some community members still have questions and concerns surrounding this contentious issue.
"What we didn't know going into this was what would the impact be on the community because evaluations of these sorts of projects don't ever include that component," said Sharon Chamard, Fairview City Council. "How does it affect the person that owns a business across the street? How does it affect children who use a neighboring park and so on, and we still don't know that from this evaluation."
The results of the recent UAA study are preliminary, with the completed results expected to be made available after Karluk Manor’s two year anniversary in December 2011.