Is Housing First Working?

    Juneau, AK (KINY)-Housing First, a 32 apartment building in the Lemon Creek area is fully occupied. The question now is, "Is the project is doing with getting the chronically homeless off Juneau streets and lessening conflicts between the homeless and business people in the downtown area?".

    Juneau Police Department Officer Alex Smith works full-time in Juneau's downtown district.  He says a year ago, when business were trying to open, there would be homeless people in every other doorway downtown.  Now he finds only five or six each morning, camping in places where they might not be welcome.  Officer Smith says the Housing First building, where 32 formerly homeless people are now housed in the Lemon Creek Area, has created the change he sees.  Officer Smith says the remaining homes are more likely to be younger, in their 20s and 30s, and abusing drugs instead of alcohol.

    Juneau Assembly Member Norton Gregory works in Lemon Creek, right next to the Housing First building.  He says the tenants are excellent neighbors and he even ran into a woman he used to see downtown who told Gregory that she has not drank in six weeks. 

    Both Gregory and Officer Smith are pleased a warming center will open soon, giving those remaining on the streets an appropriate place to get warm.



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