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Anchorage Police ID man found dead in woods near Sullivan Arena

Casey Grove

Anchorage police have identified the man found dead in woods Tuesday near Sullivan Arena as a resident of Karluk Manor, a housing project for chronic, homeless alcoholics.

Two people found the body of 44-year-old Jacob Shavings near a trail connecting to the Chester Creek Trail, police said. Police publicly identified Shavings on Thursday and said an investigation has ruled out foul play.

Shavings is the fifth person found dead outside in Anchorage this year. A police spokeswoman declined to say how Shavings died, saying that further test results would not be available for six to eight weeks.

Karluk Manor opened in late 2011 on Karluk Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, about a mile from where Shavings' body was found. Run by Rural Alaska Community Action Program, the facility is designed to provide housing for the most at-risk among Anchorage's homeless population.

Manor tenants are allowed to drink alcohol, a controversial component of such "Housing First" programs. Staff assist tenants in finding health care, sobriety assistance and other support services. Studies have shown that participants in Housing First programs reduce their drinking by 30 percent, on average, according to Manor spokeswoman Melinda Freemon, Rural CAP's director of supportive housing.

Karluk Manor staff only monitor the surrounding area, and residents are free to come and go as they please, Freemon said.

"The tenants at Karluk Manor have the level of autonomy that they can maintain. So they are renters with lease agreements with Karluk Manor," Freemon said. "This is a tragic loss of an individual that we knew and cared about. And our condolences go out to his family."

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.