AHFC Invites New Rent Relief Applications

Brian Tiefenbrun

Brian Tiefenbrun

Operations Coordinator
btiefenbrun@connectmatsu.org

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is opening a new enrollment period to apply for rental assistance. The new Rent Relief application period will go from September 13, 2021 to October 1, 2021, AHFC is encouraging vulnerable Alaska renters to check their eligibility and apply on their site (AHFC Rent Relief Application). The program states that it will provide up to 3 months of rent and utility relief for qualified individuals. The publication may be viewed by clicking here.

(Due to federal restrictions, assistance is not available at this time for homeowners). If you would like to search for other available housing resources, click here.

Updated COVID-19 Information Page

Jessie Burbank

Jessie Burbank

Community Resource Specialist II
jburbank@connectmatsu.org

Wasilla, Alaska—Connect Mat-Su has updated their web site to include easy access to various COVID-19 resources available in the Mat-Su Valley.

The Connect Mat-Su COVID-19 Information Page was added to the Connect Mat-Su web site last year in response to the pandemic to assist community members in finding up-to-date information regarding COVID testing sights, access to the vaccine, and other COVID-19 related questions. After the CARES Act made funding available for individuals affected by the pandemic, Connect Mat-Su began disseminating information about these programs. As the Mat-Su Valley Borough continued to adapt to the changing needs of the community, Connect Mat-Su recognized a growing need to compile this information in an easily accessible form.

The Connect Mat-Su COVID-19 Information Page has been revamped with this in mind. Now, when you click on the Covid-19 Resources tab you will find buttons linking to Mat-Su Borough School District resources, Government Assistance Programs, Medical Care, and Support Services in addition to the original link to the Mat-Su Health Foundation Covid-19 Resource page and COVID-19 Call Line information. As you navigate through these links you will find information ranging from the Mat-Su Borough School District Mitigation Plan to information about how to acquire stimulus payments.

The Mat-Su Borough School District Resources are of particular importance as schools are back in session. Here you will find the MSBSD COVID-19 Mitigation Plan, the MSBSD Mitigation and Data Hub, resources for families and employees, MSBSD quick-links for parents, and information about what to do if your child is sick. MSBSD families who have not signed up for the expanded Child Tax Credit can find information about this program through the Government Assistance Programs link.

Community members who have questions about where and how to get the vaccine or COVID tests are encouraged to visit the Medical Care link or to call the Connect Mat-Su COVID-19 Information Call Line at 907-373-2628 and press 2; Callers with any other resource needs are encouraged to call and press 1.

To access this information, please visit our COVID-19 Information Page.

(Click The Image to Check Out our Updates)

Connect Mat-Su Call Line Operator Spotlight: Jasmine Walker

Chelsea Hedrick

Chelsea Hedrick

Community Resource Specialist
chedrick@connectmatsu.org

Jasmine Walker is an operator for the Connect Mat-Su COVID Call Line and a certified medical assistant. She says that she was drawn to the position because, “being able to communicate with the public on a more personable level is always the main goal,” and she’s able to accomplish that by acting as the point of contact for those who need information about COVID-19 and the vaccines. Jasmine has also enjoyed learning how to use new tools in technology that she hopes to apply in her future positions.

 

In partnership with Alaska Public Health Nursing (AKPHN), the call line launched in February and expanded services in May to provide information and answer questions about COVID vaccines. Operators are available weekdays from noon until 5 p.m. Call (907) 373-2628 and dial 2 for assistance. For more information on the program, please email coordinator@connectmatsu.org.

MAT-SU HEALTH FOUNDATION AND CONNECT MAT-SU NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Brian Tiefenbrun

Brian Tiefenbrun

Operations Coordinator
btiefenbrun@connectmatsu.org

Wasilla, Alaska – The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) and its community resource network Connect Mat-Su are once again open to the public. The physical location at 777 N. Crusey St. in Wasilla closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but services were still provided via telephone and online. Lower coronavirus case rates in Mat-Su coupled with the availability and effectiveness of vaccines allowed reopening as an important step in making it easier for Mat-Su residents to access the assistance and resources they need to live healthy lives.

The Mat-Su Health Foundation building is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Some tenants in the building have reopened as well, while others are offering services in alternative ways or requiring appointments. Consumers are advised to check with individual service providers to learn their status. Please feel free to Contact Us.

Connect Mat-Su Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Czechowicz

Chelsea Hedrick

Chelsea Hedrick

Community Resource Specialist
chedrick@connectmatsu.org

Jessica Czechowicz is a volunteer for the Connect Mat-Su COVID Call Line and a registered nurse. She’s worked in an ICU step-down unit that in March of 2020 became a dedicated COVID unit and spent the last year seeing firsthand how it impacts someone’s health. When asked what interested her in the volunteer position, Jessica said, “One of the most difficult things I encountered as a nurse during the pandemic was how to process, disseminate, and embrace the sometimes-daily changes to best practices when dealing with COVID. It was frustrating and confusing. When I saw this volunteer opportunity, I felt a lot of empathy for how confusing it must be to navigate these new guidelines. I could help people who weren’t in the medical field navigate how to keep their families and schools safe.”

 

Jessica says this experience has, “shined a light on what an amazing job Mat-Su Public Health and the school district has done in the Mat-Su Borough! They have created a process that is straightforward, evidence-based and has allowed their schools to remain open.” Though she hasn’t received a call during her shift yet, service to others and connection to the community is important to her. She says, “Connect Mat-Su is an amazing organization and I am proud to help support them in their mission to improving the health and wellness of all Alaskans.”

 

In partnership with the Mat-Su Borough School District (MSBSD) and Alaska Public Health Nursing (AKPHN), the call line launched in February and will be open through May 21st. Operators are available Monday – Friday from 12-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Call (907) 373-2628 and dial 2 for assistance.

 

For more information on the program or how to volunteer, please email volunteer@connectmatsu.org.

CONNECT MAT-SU WEBSITE LINKS RESIDENTS TO SERVICES TO SUPPORT HEALTH

CONNECT MAT-SU WEBSITE LINKS RESIDENTS TO SERVICES TO SUPPORT HEALTH

Wasilla, Alaska – Local community resource center Connect Mat-Su has launched a new website at www.connectmatsu.org. The new site gives residents easy access to the largest known database of support services available in the Mat-Su.

Connect Mat-Su was developed by the Mat-Su Health Foundation and community partners to be a comprehensive and innovative health and social services information and referral resource center. It links residents with access to the information, referrals, and direct assistance they need to thrive physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. 

“Connect Mat-Su was designed to support the vision that every person in the Mat-Su has access to all that is needed to live a healthy and fulfilling life,” said Mat-Su Health Foundation CEO Elizabeth Ripley. “The service offers many kinds of assistance, including information about how to access food, housing, healthcare, elder care, childcare, and even the social connections that are such an important part of good health.”

Connect Mat-Su Director Ashley Peltier stated, “One of the things that sets Connect Mat-Su apart from other resource centers is the tailored experience we provide. Clients have the option to search hundreds of local resources on the Connect Mat-Su website, or they can call us for a more personalized experience that includes taking time to understand their individual needs, offering options, helping to navigate the options, and providing warm handoffs for further assistance.”

Connect Mat-Su has been in operation since April 2018, offering service by phone and in-person at the Mat-Su Health Foundation offices until the building was temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The new Connect Mat-Su website comes when it is needed most, making it easier for residents to access resources,” said Ripley.

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About Mat-Su health Foundation: Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital to protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare institution. The MSHF mission is to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su and the tools it uses include grantmaking, convening of local partners, and policy change. The foundation’s work has resulted in significant improvements in systems that support the health of Mat-Su residents in areas such as behavioral health, child welfare, crisis response, community connections, workforce development, transportation, housing, and senior services. More information is available at healthymatsu.org.