Since Dec. 1, the City and Borough of Juneau’s cold weather emergency shelter has been operating on each day the forecasted temperature has been below 32 degrees. That meant the shelter, located at 450 Whittier Street, was open for more than half of December, and was consistently utilized. Between two and 28 people slept in the shelter each night. And that’s exactly the purpose – the facility, open from 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., provides a warm and safe place for people experiencing homelessness to sleep.

During these cold winter days and nights – and throughout the year – community members interested in giving time and/or resources to those experiencing homelessness should reach out to established service providers and agencies that are part of the Juneau Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (homelessinjuneau.org). It’s important for people who need services to be steered toward the path of permanent, supportive housing.

For the cold weather emergency shelter, CBJ has partnered with AWARE and the Glory Hole shelter & soup kitchen to provide two staff people when the shelter is open. Based on a recommendation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness, the Assembly approved $75,000 in November to fund shelter operations, including staffing and the building lease. CBJ is leasing the space in the Whitter Street building from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the cold weather emergency shelter, please directly contact the Glory Hole at info@feedjuneau.org or AWARE at mandyoc@awareak.org. Volunteers will be asked to attend at least one night of on-the-job training and, if it’s a good fit, to co-staff with at least one trained, paid staff member after that. Additionally, the Glory Hole, AWARE, the Juneau Housing First Collaborative and CBJ’s cold weather emergency shelter all utilize trained staff for overnight shifts. If you’re interested in working at any of these agencies, they’re always interested in interviewing qualified applicants.

Later this month, CBJ plans to start interviewing qualified applicants for the new Housing and Homelessness Service Coordinator. The position is completely funded by a grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The application period closes January 3, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. The new position will work directly with the CBJ Chief Housing Officer and the Juneau Coalition on Housing and Homelessness to coordinate housing and service efforts, as well as serve as the Assembly’s point person on homeless issues and initiatives.

(This is written by the City Manager’s office and originally appeared in the January 1, 2018 Juneau Empire in a segment called, “City Corner”).