Changes Underway at Brother Francis Shelter


Jennifer Canfield/KMXT

Executive Director Monte Hawver was a guest on yesterday’s Talk of the Rock. He talked about a new federal definition of homelessness, some of the services they provide and renovations at the shelter.

The Homeless Prevention Fund is a pot of money that the Brother Francis Shelter uses to help Kodiak residents who are in danger of eviction or having their utilities shut off. The fund distributed about $27,000 during the month of January and nearly went broke last week. Hawver says that an $8,000 donation from Wells Fargo will keep the program running for another three to four weeks, but that more support is needed.

(Hawver 1 :43 "It’s especially a problem in Kodiak… keeping up with their bills.")

Hawver says the fund is the biggest reason why there are no longer families on the streets in Kodiak. The money helps solve a diverse array of problems, if only temporarily.

(Hawver 2 :42 "There’s a lot of poor people in Kodiak… how many people were just going without.")

In his two decades with the shelter, Hawver says this has been one of the worst years for working poor families that he can remember. He says the program served 800-1000 people last year.

(Hawver 3 :37 "It’s much, much harder than it used to be… hard to fix those kinds of problems.")

There used to be several definitions of homelessness that Hawver and other staff at the shelter had to be aware of. A new 102-page federal definition now makes the shelter’s work a little easier.

(Hawver 4 :10 "I’m not picking through my funds… several pots of money.")

One of the biggest and most welcome changes to the definition is that families living with other families are now considered homeless and eligible for assistance they previously weren’t qualified for.

(Hawver 5 :23 "Maybe they’ve been evicted… homeless prevention funds.")

Just as the cost of living for families has gone up, so have costs at the shelter. Hawver says their food budget alone has increased tenfold.

(Hawver 6 :45 "It’s kind of a complex reason…and others too.")

Despite hardships, the shelter will be able to upgrade and expand this year. Hawver says an up-to-date commercial kitchen and full dining facility will be constructed this year. He says the renovations are sorely needed. The current kitchen hasn’t been updated since the shelter opened 20 years ago and there is no dining room to speak of.

(Hawver 7 :33 "Dinner and breakfast is eaten… especially if you have 40 hungry people that are eating.")

Hawver says people who’d like to help the shelter can stop by, email or call.

Ask for Monte or Dana 486-5610

410 Thorsheim St.

PO Box 670

Kodiak, AK 99615

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