AWARE hopes CBJ backing will help secure shelter funds

AWARE’s effort to build a new extended stay shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault could get a boost from the City and Borough of Juneau.

The CBJ Assembly Human Resources Committee last night (Monday) recommended the city partner with AWARE to apply for up to 850-thousand dollars in federal pass-through money for the project.

Since 2007, the Juneau nonprofit has been planning a six-unit residential shelter, with four 2-bedroom apartments and two efficiencies. Executive Director Saralyn Tabachnick says the facility would serve as transitional housing for women and families who utilize AWARE’s emergency shelter. “Transitional” meaning four months to two years.

“We say that we’re a 30 day program, and the reality is for people trying to find housing in Juneau, it’s very difficult no matter what your means are. So we often extend the 30 days,” says Tabachnick. “And it would be helpful to have transitional housing – some longer term safe shelter where they can continue to build stability and safety.”

If approved by the full assembly, the city would partner with AWARE to apply for a grant through the state’s Community Development Block Grant program.

The grant – combined funds already secured by the organization – would help AWARE complete planning and start construction, estimated at 3.5-million dollars.

Tabachnick says a long-term domestic violence shelter has been a need in Juneau and all of Southeast for as long as she can remember.

“This is a regional need. There is not a transitional housing facility for domestic violence survivors in all of Southeast Alaska,” Tabachnick says. “Our service area is Juneau and then nine northern communities in Southeast Alaska: Haines, Hoonah, Klukwan, Skagway, Gustavus, Elfin Cove, Pelican, Yakutat, and then Tenakee Springs.”

Community Development Block Grant applications are due in December 2nd. Proposals from around the state are judged by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, and funds will be awarded early next year.