Looking Forward to the Next 50 Years
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the RurAL CAP Board of Directors for my recent election as Board President. RurAL CAP has a long and rich history of improving the lives of low-income Alaskans. I am honored to serve as Board President and look forward to working with our colleagues and partners as we prepare to commemorate our 50th anniversary in 2015.
We’ve come a long way in Alaska during the past 50 years. It wasn’t that long ago that villages throughout Alaska didn’t have electricity, running water, airports, clinics, or energy options beyond fuel tank farms. During the winter, the main mode of transportation in some regions was via dog teams. Today, boats are still used for traditional food gathering activities.
Although many modern conveniences have arrived in rural Alaska during the past 50 years, there are still basic unmet needs, such as safe, affordable and energy-efficient housing. For many years, decent and affordable housing has been a priority for the RurAL CAP Board of Directors, which is why I thought it would be helpful to provide information about this important topic to families statewide in this issue of the Village Voices.
Please see the message from the Executive Director for information on housing programs and services offered by RurAL CAP and other housing programs offered by our partner organizations and funders such as the Regional Housing Authorities, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, HUD, USDA, Denali Commission, and the U.S. Department of Energy.Looking Forward to the Next 50 YearsRurAL CAP operates on a three-year strategic planning cycle. Our planning process includes a detailed community needs assessment with input from members of the Board of Directors, constituents, partners, stakeholders, staff, trend reviews, reports, and other resources. For our current 2013-2015 Strategic Plan, housing is one of RurAL CAP’s six primary Strategic Directions in addition to Health, Education, Energy and Environment, Advocacy, and Capacity Building. Housing was listed as a top priority among rural and urban residents who participated in community needs assessments conducted at the 2012 and 2013 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention (AFN).
As with many other organizations throughout the state who work hard to improve the quality of life for Alaskans, RurAL CAP looks forward to the next 50 years to do our part to advocate for safe and affordable housing for the communities we serve by providing direct housing services, strengthening relationships with our partners, and by increasing policymakers’ awareness of the housing challenges facing low-income families.
Thank you for your interest in RurAL CAP and the Village Voices newsletter. By working together, we can all do our part to improve the quantity and quality of affordable housing from Metlakatla to Gambell and Kaktovik to Adak. This is more than just a Board priority or strategic planning goal: better housing for our low-income neighbors across Alaska is a big part of how we will measure our impact and success over the next 50 years. I look forward to it!