St. Vincent de Paul plans events to help offer homeless food and other items

    Executive Director Dave Ringle

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Dave Ringle is the Executive Director for St. Vincent de Paul. He joined Angel Montgomery on Capital Chat to talk about upcoming events.

    First, Ringle gave a background on their organization.

    "St. Vincent de Paul is a charity organization, we provide aid to people. That can be food, that can be utility assistance, that can be rental vouchers, but one of the things we do is we have 26 shelter rooms and 75 low-income housing units in our community. So we work primarily families and vulnerable seniors to get them off the streets and into housing. Then, once they're in our shelter, we work on getting them into long-term rentals. We're working hard to end the challenges of homelessness here in Alaska, and in Juneau, particularly."

    On Tuesday, January 31st there are services available at the Glory Hall in the valley and at Marine Park downtown.

    "We used to have Project Homeless Connect at Centennial Hall, under renovation. Downtown, we try and get as many homeless people as possible. But we also had 90% of the homeless services downtown with AWARE, the Glory Hall, and other agencies down there-now after COVID, the services are spread out. We have services on Teal Street at both the Glory Hall and St. Vincent de Paul, we have services downtown. So from seven to 10, at Marine Park, there will be a breakfast and there will be bags, containing toiletries, socks, other clothing, and some gift cards. So if people wish to come, they can submit their name confidentially to recorders that will be there. They can get some hot coffee, some breakfast, and other items. All day at the Glory Hall, they will have the same program going on. Our hope is to get some bags to other places in the community. St. Vincent de Paul, of course, but also Family Promise over in Jordan Creek Mall and some other agencies like Polaris House downtown. Other places where people in some of the Front Street Clinic buildings who are homeless come. We know they're out there. But we are sometimes surprised at how many of them there are."

    Marine Park is from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m., St. Vincent de Paul from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it will go all day at the Glory Hall. At the Glory Hall, there will be a catered lunch by V's Cellar Door.

    Ringle said in the last year there has been a unique grant.

    "We could take homeless people and provide some relief for them. What we're amazed at is how many people who hear about it were living in cars or living in unsafe situations. We've actually managed to get over 120, 150 individuals off the street into temporary housing. Our goal is to get them into permanent housing. That's much more difficult in our housing market, but you've got to start somewhere."

    Ringle said the public can help by directing people they know in need to either St. Vincent de Paul, the Glory Hall, or Marine Park Tuesday, January 31st.

    Ringle said this is also an annual event to help them record the number of people who need services, which is required for St. Vincent de Paul to receive federal funding. It's also a snapshot for them to see how homelessness changes from year to year. He said he expects an increase in numbers this year.

    "Given the number of people who are new who are showing up at the warming shelter, or showing up at the Glory Hall, there's been a surge in people who were never homeless before. One of the things we're seeing is people with jobs who lose their apartments can't find new apartments. We have seniors who have lived in places, their apartment is sold, and they assume that the situation is the same as it was 20 years ago. And if they don't get help, they end up losing their lease with nowhere to go. So we're working on getting those people housed quickly. The longer you wait to get help, the harder it is. If you contact St. Vincent de Paul five days before your lease is terminated, there's a limit. If you contact us two months before your lease is terminated, there's a good chance we can work with your landlord we can get some assistance, and solve the problem before you could become homeless."

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