Poverty and Opportunity task force reviews reports

On Wednesday, Ralph Townsend, professor of economics with the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research provided the Alaska Legislature’s Poverty and Opportunity task force an update on relevant reports to address poverty in the state. 

The following links (here and here) will take readers to the university’s publication site. A select list of the following publications that legislators are reading is provided below, broken down by category. 

 

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Data collection for Social Indicators in the Arctic

“Social indicators for arctic tourism: observing trends and assessing data.”  Anna Karlsdottir and Ginny Fay

“Social Indicators for Arctic Mining.”  Nick Szymoniak

Health care in Alaska

“How Has the 80th Percentile Rule Affected Alaska’s Health-Care Expenditures?”  Mouhcine Guettabi

“Trends in Alaska’s Health-Care Spending.”  Jessica Passini 

“How Do Alaskans Cover Their Medical Bills?”  Linda Leask

Child welfare services in Alaska

“Repeat Maltreatment in Alaska: Assessment and Exploration of Alternative Measures.”  Jessica Passini and Diwakar Vadapalli

“Assessment of Services Available for Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence in Anchorage, Alaska.”  Diwakar Vadapalli

“Kids Count Alaska 1996-2014.”  Various authors

Also covered during the meeting was a presentation from the Rural Alaska Community Action Program. The program is focusing on promoting whole community healing by creating locally-driven models that empower Alaskans to break out of poverty. It addresses both individual and community level traumas. 

A case study is found in the Bay Haven Shelter, in Hooper Bay, with a population of about 2,500 people, most of whom are indigenous Yupik. The community relies on a mixed subsistence and cash economy with limited infrastructure. 

The community faces historical trauma due to colonization and transitioning away from traditional subsistence way of living to a capitalist economy. This has contributed to disproportionate rates of substance abuse, suicide, domestic violence, sexual abuse and school drop-out rates. 

The program is working with the Hooper Bay community on the Hooper Bay Wellness Project to support traditional parenting skills, and by weatherizing housing, among other areas. 

It also teamed up with community partners and as a tribal designee for capacity-building to partner with the community to plan and open the Bay Haven Shelter for families experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault in 2020, and provide services guided by Yupik values. 

Since opening, it has served more than 75 women and children, provided employment for 11 people, and provided culturally-relevant training for staff and clients.