Juneau’s emergency warming shelter open for cold nights

A row of dark colored cots along the walls of a room with a single blanket on top of each cot
The cots in Juneau’s new cold weather emergency shelter were already owned by CBJ, according to Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor. (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)

Juneau’s new emergency warming shelter hosted its first guests Friday night.

The bare bones shelter provides cots and blankets for up to 20 people. It will open whenever the weather drops below freezing from now until April 15.

City Housing Officer Scott Ciambor said the public will be notified on days when the shelter is open via the city’s Twitter and Facebook pages, the Housing Program website and word of mouth.

“We kind of even got the message out late in the afternoon and folks still heard about it,” Ciambor said Saturday. “We had two guests, two patrons who came in. Slept through the night. They were snoring even.”

Located in the old Alaska Department of Public Safety Building on Whittier Ave., the shelter is open from 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The city is renting the space from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. Patrons have access to a bathroom and are allowed one bag to keep under their cot.

The old Alaska Department of Public Safety Building, a blue and white building, on the edge of Whittier Ave. at dusk with street lights illuminated in front of it and a snow covered mountain visible behind it
Juneau’s new cold weather emergency shelter is in the old Alaska Department of Public Safety Building on Whittier Ave. (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)

Ciambor said the majority of the $75,000 appropriated by the Juneau Assembly in November for the project will go toward staffing the facility. The city is partnering with the Glory Hole, Juneau’s downtown homeless shelter, and domestic violence organization AWARE to ensure two trained staff members are on site each night the shelter is open.

“I think the key message for the community who’s interested in helping this effort, as well as the effort to end homelessness in general, is to really contact those agencies and just go to work for them. Or volunteer,” Ciambor said.

He estimated that the Glory Hole and AWARE have about 70 beds between them, but said they were operating at full capacity for much of this fall.

The CBJ Cold Weather Emergency Shelter Conditions and Guidelines for Participants. (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)

In September, the Housing First complex opened in Lemon Creek. It provides affordable housing for 32 formerly homeless residents. Juneau Youth Services and Family Promise also offers year-round assistance for homeless individuals.

“We kind of feel like with this operation and Housing First opening, we’re getting to a good chunk of availability for the on the street folks,” Ciambor said. “We’re hoping that this is a good effort for this winter and my expectation is that it’s been much better than last winter already.”

Those who are not able to stay at the Glory Hole for whatever reason are welcome at the warming center as long as they abide by the code of conduct they must sign when they arrive.

Ciambor said next steps include improving signage outside the building and continuing to spread the word so that people are aware of the new resource for cold nights.

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications