Oct 15, 2013

Preliminary research shows an apartment complex for homeless alcoholics in Anchorage is helping the residents deal with chronic health and other problems. Karluk Manor has been open nearly two years.  Janet Johnston, an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Alaska Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies, says preliminary data shows positive changes for the residents.
“Since the numbers are small I.... and a smaller percentage who are drinking every day.
Johnston says their emergency room visits are down too. Melinda Freeman manages Karluk Manor for RuralCap. She says Johnston’s research is in line with numerous other studies of “Housing First” programs. The idea behind Housing First is to move homeless individuals into stable housing first, then deal with the problems that led to them becoming homeless.  Karluk residents regularly see a case manager and mental and medical care providers.
With cold temperatures right around the corner, Anchorage's main homeless shelter is reviving a former time limit rule. After 30 days the Brother Francis Shelter near downtown will make people leave for another 30 if they have not complied with shelter rules. Spokesperson Ellen Krsnak (ker-snack) says simply too many people are using the shelter as a residence.
The 30-day-in-30-day-out policy acknowledges... for 30 days in an emergency situations.]*
Krsnak says shelter managers have held two town hall meetings about the policy change, and another is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Beans Cafe.
Smoking’s down by 40 percent among Alaska high school students, according to a survey by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health. Epidemiologist Erin Peterson says the numbers are encouraging:
:14 Since 2007 we have seen a 40% drop in the percent of high school students who say they smoke. And if you go back to 1995, we’ve seen rates come down by about 70% in that time.
Peterson credits the lower levels of teen tobacco use to a well-funded comprehensive statewide tobacco cessation program that combines all the components that have been shown to work nationally:
:18 We’ve had strong media campaigns, partnerships at the local level with communities, with tribal groups, with schools, health care centers, communities taking on tobacco price increases as well as making environments smoke-free.
The use of smokeless tobacco among all youth has not gone down. And, as APRN’s Josh Edge reports, tobacco use remains high among Alaska Native youth.