Warming Station Open House spreads awareness about homelessness in Fairbanks

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 3:33 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Friday, the warming station on South Cushman celebrated its 2nd anniversary with an open house featuring food and COVID-19 vaccinations provided by Fairbanks Public Health. Information booths from agency sponsors provided information about how the warming station helps the Fairbanks community’s homeless population.

Roscoe Britton, Program Director of No Limits Inc Program Director told us, “Today’s (Friday) open house is just a reminder to the city of Fairbanks that there’s still a homeless population situation here in town that still needs to be addressed, and we want everyone to know that the warming station is going to be in its second year of operation. So what that does is allow people to come in, get warm, get out of the elements, get some food, [and] get some clothing if they need it.”

Britton also explained that on any given day in Fairbanks there are approximately 160 chronically homeless individuals, meaning they suffer from substance abuse and/or mental health issues.

Referring to support they’ve received, Britton said, “Thank you to the community for helping us out with donations - not only just monetary donations but with winter clothing, [and] with food donations. It’s been a big outpouring from the community to help. With that being said, we need to make sure that this discussion doesn’t go away. We have a homeless population situation in one of the coldest places in the United States. Last year we lost at least 5 individuals that froze to death because they weren’t able to get into the mission for whatever reason. So we need to end that.”

Many local agencies have come together in support of this effort, including the Fairbanks Alaska Behavioral Health Path Program, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Stone Soup Kitchen, and the Rescue Mission.

“Two of the main problems here in Fairbanks when it comes to homelessness are a good percentage of the homeless population are Alaska native, and homeless vets. Fairbanks is number one in a lot of bad categories, [like] number one in the nation for homeless youth. So those are some things you have to look at as a community and say ‘how can we make the community better as a whole?’ Because we’re only as strong as the weakest link,” Britton said.

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