Project Homeless Connect

In the past, Project Homeless Connect has been a one-day event, gathering people who lack adequate, stable housing and the agencies, organizations and volunteers who can help. Since large gatherings aren't safe during COVID, project organizers are rethinking how to get the information they need and provide the services this population needs without gathering all at once. Thanks to Leslie Rohr, executive director with Love Inc.

The peninsula has most of what it needs for an emergency cold weather shelter. 

“The food bank is ready, willing and able to provide the evening meal and a light breakfast to go in the mornings. We have transportation available through a couple different avenues," said Leslie Rohr. She's executive director of Love INC, one of several peninsula groups that are spearheading the initiative to get a shelter going this winter.

What they’re missing is a space. And there’s not much that can happen without one.


Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The central Kenai Peninsula homeless population isn’t as visible as in Anchorage or other big cities, but it does exist. And the worst time of the year to not have housing is just around the corner.

Twyla Mundy, with the Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Continuum of Care Committee for the Kenai Peninsula, spoke to the Soldotna City Council at its meeting last week. She advocated for a cold-weather shelter to give people a place to go in the winter when temperatures pose a risk to health and safety.

It’s not a new idea. Love, INC, is coordinating the project. Working with churches in Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna, they came close to having a shelter system up and running last year but snagged on the occupancy approval process. This year, COVID issues make church housing a nonstarter. 

Mundy says she can’t stand for a shelter not to be available again this winter.

“We have a plan but we got stopped because of all of the fire requirements and I understand that, but we never actually opened and my heart — I can’t walk by empty buildings this winter and know how many people are freezing in their cares. That can’t happen in the town I live,” Mundy said.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Struggling with poverty can be a lonely experience. Health, housing, transportation, employment and other factors can be a delicate house of cards. Without resources or a support system, one card slipping out of place can bring it all crashing down.

Project Homeless Connect is a way to help shore up those cards for people in need. People attending the annual service clearinghouse Wednesday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Center found all the threads of the local support net in one place at one time. And it was anything but lonely, with more than 35 organizations and services on offer and more than 50 volunteers ready to help.


Leslie Rohr, executive director of Love, INC, spoke with host Jenny Neyman about the organization's efforts to help those facing poverty, as well as Project Homeless Connect and an effort to start an emergency cold-weather shelter program.

Pages