Update on cold weather shelter at the JACC
The Emergency Cold Weather Shelter operated by St. Vincent de Paul Juneau at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center has been open since Friday, March 20, and has operated every night from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. The City and Borough of Juneau contracts with St. Vincent de Paul to run the shelter.
The facility moved from St. Vincent de Paul’s Mendenhall Valley location to the JACC as part of CBJ’s COVID-19 pandemic preparations for the community’s homeless population and to provide CDC-recommended spacing of six feet between cots arranged side-to-side, and three feet foot-to-head. In the first five nights, an average of 35 persons stayed at the shelter. Space is available for up to 55.
“With over five times the space of our previous shelter, this location meets our needs for service and social distancing. We will continue to work with CDC guidelines and community groups to improve services to this needy and vulnerable population of our community,” St. Vincent de Paul General Manager Dave Ringle said.
Shelter improvements are being made daily with the help of St. Vincent de Paul staff and community partners involved with the effort. As is, the shelter meets state and federal standards for shelter operations during a pandemic and are similar to those being established by the Municipality of Anchorage and community providers at the Sullivan Arena and Ben Boeke Arena.
This week, public health officials were consulted to help design the space and provide training on social distancing during operations for shelter staff. The shelter does a basic health screening for patrons, provides education on COVID-19 and health improvements, has improved hand sanitation provisions including a hand washing system, and increased cleaning services during the day when the shelter is empty. A food service partnership with Salvation Army is in development to ensure meals are available.
With the shelter up and operating, attention is now focused on planning for quarantine, isolation, and alternative care facility options for multiple populations, including the homeless, seniors, individuals who live in congregate settings and can’t isolate, or those who are economically challenged.
For more information, contact CBJ Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor at 586-0220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.