Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Another subject was the proposed move of the Glory Hall from downtown to the valley.
Vice-Chair of the Glory Hall and Housing First Board of Directors Bruce Denton was the featured speaker at the weekly meeting of the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce. The Housing First facility has been operating for close to two years.
Dawson Construction began work on phase 2 about one month ago. The completion is expected in late summer or early fall, 2020. The new phase adds another 32 bed, identical to phase one.
It is designed to ensure housing stability, and substantially reduce the cost of public safety and emergency room visits.
A study completed by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast reported a 65% decrease in emergency room visits, a 99% reduction in sleep off visits at Bartlett Hospital, a 72% reduction in contact with police, and a 54% decrease in ambulance transports since the facility opened for housing first tenants.
Denton pointed out the CBJ does not provide any funds for the operation of the facility.
Executive Director Maria Lovishchuk said the Glory Hall provides many services like prevention, outreach, intake and assessment, emergency shelter, permanent affordable housing, transitional housing, permanent support housing, and support services.
The Glory Hall is Juneau's soup kitchen, emergency shelter and care center. It was first established in 1982. The mission is to provide food, shelter, and compassion.
They serve over 55,000 meals each year. They also provided over 11,000 emergency overnight beds each year.
They recently announced they will be moved to the Mendenhall Valley. The Board voted unanimously to try and acquire property in this area. The Board found the new location will allow the Glory Hole to better serve the mission of providing food, shelter, and compassion to those most in need.
Advantages of the new site would improve accessibility, be safer for patrons and staff, is a well designed and thought out facility that better meets the needs, is more private and secure, and provides an adequate amount of space.
The proposed location is near the intersection of Teal and Alpine Street.
Denton said with the second phase of Housing First he expects fewer people using the Glory Hall for services.
The new facility is properly zoned, is consistent with the established neighborhood, secures entry and adequate space for eating and sleeping, and is close to needed services. It also would be easier to reach for individuals in crisis.
Denton said they conducted an extensive search for a new location and this was the best location.
Over $150,000 has been raised for the project. They hope to have a $300,000 initial payment next month. He said grant funding is available for construction.
The facility could colocate the Glory Hall with United Human Services and the community homelessness navigator program to improve homelessness and housing service delivery.
Donors can mail donations to Juneau Community Foundation, 350 N Franklin Street, Suite 4, Juneau, Alaska 99801. They should earmark the donation for the Glory Hall building project.
The project would also create some construction jobs for Juneau workers.
In other actions at the luncheon...
The Alaska Power Association will hold a meeting in Juneau from August 21-23.
The Rotary Clubs Duck Derby fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday at Twin Lakes.