When successful, collaborations are great. They are rewarding for the people who put them together and for those who use them. And when they are for a good cause, they can be like a godsend. That’s how the new residents of the North Plymouth Circle house feel about their new home. Located in a quiet neighborhood with a landscaped driveway in front and a tree surrounded lawn, this ranch-style house was made available by the collaboration of effort by Valley Residential Servicies (VRS) and the Mat-Su Services for Children and Adults (MSSCA). VRS purchased the house utilizing a generous loan program offered through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) and will manage the facility. MSSCA, through a variety of resources, will lease the home and provide the support services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
The new residents and staff moved into the residence in October and look forward to the privacy and comfort such a residence offers. “The water is warm and its peaceful here” says one resident. “There is a peace of mind and much reduction of anxiety when you know you have a safe and reliable roof over your head every night. It is a much improved living experience when you can reside in a private home setting with your own bedroom and personal items” says MSSCA staff member Joy Kristiansen.
In the past VRS and MSSCA have partnered up to provide housing and support services to other people with special needs. However, this is the first time such a formal partnership was pre-organized and a plan developed to collaborate and utilize the strengths of each organization. “We anticipate this collaboration to be highly successful. VRS will provide its strengths and experience to secure appropriate housing and provide ongoing professional management. MSSCA will lease this housing and provide the support services needed by the residents” says VRS President and CEO John Weaver. “There is a great need for affordable, accessible and stable housing in the Mat-Su area. MSSCA really appreciates VRS’s expertise and extensive experience with securing funding for affordable housing and property management. If successful, we plan to continue the outstanding collaboration with VRS to meet the housing needs of people with disabilities” says MSSCA Executive Director John Cannon.
The North Plymouth Circle home is a good example of how a partnership of agencies such as VRS and MSSCA can come together using their individual expertise to solve a problem– a problem that individually neither of the agencies has all the assets to solve alone. Truly, great things can be accomplished through collaboration.