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Shéiyi X̱aat Hít will house runaway & homeless youth in Juneau

March 2, 2021 – News

The City and Borough of Juneau Zach Gordon Youth Center and the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority (THRHA) have partnered to open Shéiyi X̱aat Hít, a shelter that will serve runaway or homeless youth and young adults in Juneau. Shéiyi X̱aat Hít will be located in the Mendenhall Valley at 9290 Hurlock Avenue and is set to open this spring.

“THRHA is honored to be a partner in this community effort to support Juneau’s youth. Shéiyi X̱aat Hít symbolizes the words from our elders, the trees stayed strong by the roots intertwined below the soil to hold them up. This place is like that, a network of support for our youth,” THRHA President/CEO Jacqueline Kus.een Pata said.

The name Shéiyi X̱aat Hít, which means Spruce Root House, was gifted to the project by X’unei Lance Twitchell. As property managers of the house, THRHA has secured funding to make repairs to the building, purchase furniture, and get it ready to house occupants. THRHA leases the property from CBJ for $100 a year for the purpose of providing youth services.

Zach Gordon Youth Center (ZGYC) will be project managers. ZGYC is currently hiring staff, going through the State of Alaska licensing process for residential facilities serving youth, and general program development.

“It is our intention with Shéiyi X̱aat Hít to create a program that is culturally responsive, trauma informed, and incorporates positive youth development. We are working with our partners to create a space where runaway and homeless youth can feel safe, supported, and lifted by their community while they get the help they need to transition into stable housing successfully. We are so grateful to be doing this with THRHA. It is really wonderful what we can do for our young folks – and our community as a whole – when we start from a place of connection and collaboration,” CBJ Youth Development and Services Manager Jorden Nigro said.

The house will serve up to six youth ages 10-18 who have runaway or are homeless, and up to four homeless young adults ages 18-20 in an attached apartment.

Funders involved in this project are: Alaska Community Foundation, Northern Light United Church, the federal Family and Youth Services Bureau, Juneau Community Foundation, Alaska Mental Health Trust, Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, and Friends of Zach Gordon Youth Center.

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