Homeless woman dies under bridge

A week before a survey of Juneau’s most vulnerable homeless, a 61-year-old woman was found dead Tuesday under the Gold Creek Bridge.

Glory Hole Homeless Shelter Director Maria Lovischuk says Gloria Plummer periodically stopped into the Glory Hole for snacks and lunches.

“I think she was one of our regular chronically homeless people downtown,” she says.

Lovischuk says Plummer was originally from Angoon, and a number of family members are in Juneau this week for the annual Gold Medal Basketball tournament. The Glory Hole will hold a memorial service for Plummer at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Juneau Police Department spokesman Cindee Brown-Mills says Plummer’s body was found by a friend who called police. She says police do not consider Plummer’s death to be suspicious.

Homeless survey to begin
The Glory Hole next week begins a survey of homeless people throughout the city and borough. Kyle Rennick is directing the survey, paid for by a grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

Rennick says Juneau’s homeless population is estimated at 560, but the survey will reach a smaller group.

“We’re trying to look at a more targeted survey here, to get at those who are living mostly without shelter at all,” Rennick says. “Oftentimes, it will be folks experiencing mental illness, some kind of alcohol or substance abuse issue, and other health issue as well.”

Juneau is one of 114 U.S. cities that have joined the national 100,000 Homes campaign, which has the goal of finding permanent homes for the most needy individuals and families by the middle of next year.

Rennick says 35 volunteers will go out in teams of four with socks, food, coffee and the survey on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He says they’ll cover Thane to Douglas to the Mendenhall Valley, with the goal of quickly connecting people to existing services.

“Basically identify them, find out what their needs are, what their health histories are, and then try to get them into treatment, or housing, or both, as fast as possible,” he says.

Rennick says the personal information will be condifential, but retained so those who cannot be placed now can be identified and helped later when more housing is available.

Though the survey is scheduled for three days next week, he says the Glory Hole will continue to collect information from homelss people who are missed.

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