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Planning for cold weather emergency shelter is ongoing

October 15, 2021 – News

The cold weather emergency shelter, funded by the City and Borough of Juneau, has been operated by several agencies for 5 years. Most recently, St. Vincent de Paul Juneau – in contract with CBJ since 2019 – has been running the shelter. During normal operations, the shelter provides individuals experiencing homelessness an overflow shelter opportunity on nights 32 degrees and below from November 15 to April 15. Last week, St. Vincent de Paul informed CBJ it wished to end its contract to run the cold weather emergency shelter. In an effort to provide the service this winter, CBJ is working with local shelter providers on another option. Resurrection Lutheran Church has offered to take over the contract and provide cold weather shelter services within its facilities at 740 West 10th St. this winter.

Resurrection Lutheran Church is in the process of submitting a conditional use permit application to the Planning Commission for a 28-bed shelter. The church would work in conjunction with other shelter operators in the community. As part of the conditional use permit process, the public has an opportunity to provide feedback to the Planning Commission when the application is reviewed. Resurrection will host informational meetings beforehand to hear concerns, suggestions for impact mitigation, and to answer questions.

Resurrection Lutheran Church Pastor Karen and Bradley Perkins have over 40 years of experience working with people experiencing homelessness, including operating the cold weather shelter when the program was run out of the old Public Safety building on W. 3rd Ave. and Whittier St.  With help from residents of the Flats, Resurrection Lutheran has been feeding people through its weekly food pantry for almost a decade. In conjunction with the RLC Food Pantry, the church has helped distribute warm clothing and toiletries, and has recently held vaccination clinics. The church has a long history of compassionate service to its neighbors downtown and the cold weather emergency shelter fits its mission well.

CBJ thanks St. Vincent de Paul Juneau for running the emergency cold weather shelter for the past two years, including during the pandemic. As part of the COVID-19 response, the contract with St. Vincent de Paul was amended multiple times to provide nightly shelter at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center from March 2020 to July 31, 2021. Over 508 continuous days, St. Vincent de Paul provided more than 21,000 bed nights to those in need, successfully implementing COVID mitigation policies that helped limit the effect of COVID-19 on this population.

For more information, contact Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor at 907-586-5240 ext. 4171 or Scott.Ciambor@juneau.org.