The number of homeless people in Juneau is estimated at more than 550. A group organized to address some of the problems of homelessness will update the Assembly Monday evening on its progress.
Human Resources Committee chair Jesse Kiehl says the issues should stay on the Assembly’s radar, because the city spends a lot of public money addressing the needs of the homeless inebriate in the least efficient way. A Housing First project may be an answer.
“Police departments and emergency rooms aren’t designed to address those problems. So a project like this, if we could get it rolling, would actually do something toward fixing some of the problems of some of the folks who have real chronic long-term public inebriation problems and homelessness.”
Housing First projects have been started across the U.S. Kiehl says is many cases just meeting a person’s basic needs helps them transition into becoming more functioning members of a community.
“The basic theory of a Housing First project is that it really addresses a roof over your head first and foremost. So the folks who are brought into a Housing First project generally are folks with chronic alcoholism or drug abuse problems, who have been homeless for a long time,” Kiehl says. “The big difference with the Housing First project is it doesn’t require sobriety to live there.”
Similar housing is available in Anchorage and Fairbanks, where homelessness and public inebriation are also a major issue.
The CBJ Assembly Human Resources Committee meets at 6 p.m. Monday in Assembly chambers at city hall.
- Details are emerging slowly on the fire at the Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller. The 100-year-old plant caught fire late Tuesday night, and the blaze continued to burn Wednesday. The full scope of the damage is still unclear, but witnesses say it is extensive.
- For five years, Sharon Livingston has organized “Camp A”, where first-, second- and third-graders immerse themselves in traditional stories, crafts and foods. By encouraging kids to explore Unangan culture, she said they learn to see the value in cultures of all kinds.
- The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the safety of Alaska skies during a hearing will take all today. The NTSB is looking into the wider issues surrounding the continued persistence of high numbers of accidents involving small planes and air taxis in Alaska.
- The Sun’aq Tribe won a grant to study the kind of threat that invasive crayfish in Alaska pose to subsistence resources. The award was announced Tuesday.