- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The federal government has awarded $1.5 million to a coalition of Anchorage organizations that work to combat homelessness as part of a national grant competition.

Anchorage was one of about 150 communities to apply for the grant. It was one of only 10 cities to receive the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development award, KTVA-TV (http://bit.ly/2iYp1dk) reported Saturday.

The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness includes 39 local organizations, including Covenant House, a nonprofit that serves homeless and at-risk youth.

Covenant House Executive Director Alison Kear said the money will go toward implementing a new approach to preventing teen homelessness.

“This isn’t designed to fund what exists. It’s designed to fund what doesn’t exist and we know will work,” Kear said.

Lisa Sauder, executive director of Bean’s Cafe, another ACEH organization, said getting young people off the streets is a top priority for the coalition.

“Frankly, if we don’t catch them and get them secure and educated and on the right track, then we’re going to have them for clients for the next 20 or 30 years at Bean’s Cafe,” Sauder said.

The coalition will seek help from a youth advisory board consisting of teens who have been homeless to determine how to best use the money, according to a news release from ACEH. Funding for the program will be renewed if the program proves successful.

“I’m just so excited for Anchorage and what this means for the community,” Kear said.

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Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com

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