With winter approaching, Juneau’s seasonal cold weather emergency shelter reopens this weekend.
The city demolished the downtown building where the shelter operated during the last two winters. The St. Vincent de Paul Society helped run the shelter in the past and has now taken over operation. The new shelter is in the charity’s Community Center near the Nugget Mall.
General Manager Brad Perkins said the new facility on Teal Street will have between 28 and 35 beds and operate from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. It will open when the temperature is expected to be at or below freezing.
“We take anybody. If you are using or drinking, you can come into this shelter,” Perkins said. “Some people are trespassed out of other places, not just the Glory Hall, and they can’t come in. You can come in here.”
The shelter will open for the season on Saturday and Sunday.
St. Vincent’s will post on Twitter and its website 2-3 days in advance of when the shelter will open. Light-up signs at City Hall, Polaris House, Resurrection Lutheran Church and the St. Vincent’s thrift store also let people know when the shelter is open.
St. Vincent’s will run a free overnight shuttle until about 2 a.m. to bring patrons to the shelter. The van will make stops between the Mendenhall Valley, Lemon Creek and downtown at city bus stops.
St. Vincent’s recently partnered with Capital City Fire/Rescue to run a sobering center on the same property as the shelter.
It already has a transitional housing facility, a food pantry and a second-hand item depot on-site. Community navigators are available to help people find housing and other services.
Perkins said having the sobering center and the emergency shelter in the same place will allow St. Vincent’s to better serve those in need.
“If they need clothing out of the clothing area we have there, we’ll give them clothing right then. If they need food out of the food pantry, we’ll do that. If they need to talk to a navigator, we’ll set them up to do that,” Perkins said. “This is all exactly what we already do. It fits right in with our mission.”
The Juneau Assembly approved a $125,000 contract with St. Vincent’s to run the shelter in October.
The shelter typically runs from mid-November through mid-April.