Community meeting held on Glory Hall move

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Some in the neighborhood of Teal Street and Alpine Avenue continue to have concerns about a proposed emergency shelter and social services office building.

    The Glory Hall has partnered with several other social service organizations and nonprofits to propose an over 11,000 square foot, two-story facility.  It would include offices, a commercial kitchen, 40 beds, and 10 bathrooms with showers.  There would also be space for inside and outside storage.

    The CBJ Community Development Department hosted a virtual meeting to hear from the public about the project Tuesday night.  This was in advance of a hearing before the Planning Commission on July 14.

    They will consider a conditional use permit application and a parking issue at the July hearing.

    Supporters of the facility said it would enhance services in Juneau to the homeless and others in need.  Programs like the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Disability Law Center, Southeast Alaska Independent Living, and the National Alliance for Mental Illness would have a presence in the complex.

    Opponents worry that it could lead to trespassing, vandalism, other crimes, and a reduction in property values.  They said the neighborhood has been impacted by the additions of the sleep off program and the warming shelter.

    Tammy Jablonski with the Tlingit and Haida Reentry and Recovery Department read a letter from President Richard Peterson that said the project would greatly enhance services to the homeless.  He noted 35 to 40 percent of the population at the Glory Hall is Alaska Natives.  He added support and lifting people up is an important traditional value for his people.

    Heather Parker with Alaska Legal Services said the facility would be beneficial for various reasons.  She said it would be convenient, break down barriers, and strengthen partnerships and collaboration among these agencies.

    One resident said she felt the entire demographics of the neighborhood have changed.  She has seen more people walking in her yard and in front of her home.  She asked where these people would go if they are refused entry to the Glory Hall. 

    Norton Gregory said there is a huge need in our community and these people deserve access to services.  He noted there were concerns when Housing First opened up in Lemon Creek.  He said he was concerned it would bring a massive change to the neighborhood and would be a horrible thing.  He added he has been pleasantly surprised by the lack of impacts, "They are truly great neighbors when you get to know them as people."

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