Capital City Fire/Rescue will take over Juneau’s sleep off program on July 1.
The service, which provides field evaluation and transportation of inebriated individuals to a safe space where they can sober up, is currently housed at Bartlett Regional Hospital.
The service will have a new name — CCFR CARES, or Community Assistance Response and Emergency Services — and a new location at St. Vincent de Paul on Teal Street in the former site of the thrift store.
“The new identity is to better reflect our vision of how the program will serve the community,” said Fire Chief Rich Etheridge in a press release. “Managing the sleep off center will be one facet. The core purpose of CARES is to connect people with needed services, start whittling away at their challenges and barriers, and hopefully reduce their reliance on emergency services.”
The supervised sleep off center will operate 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. CARES will be co-located with St. Vincent de Paul’s Community Navigator program. People who use the program will have immediate access to the navigators as well as access to bathing, laundry and clothing resources.
“Relocating sleep off services from BRH to CCFR allows BRH to better focus on their core medical-related services and offer expanded substance abuse treatment programs to those in need,” said Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove in a press release. “At the same time, sleep off services is a natural expansion of CCFR’s current line of work. In the long run, we expect to see reductions in non-emergent emergency medical calls, increased number of firefighting staff to improve our community readiness for major incidents, and a better safety net for vulnerable individuals.”
No new funding is being allocated for the program; the existing budget — $800,00 — from BRH is being transferred to CCFR.
Over the next several months, CCFR will evaluate how the program can best meet any further needs without duplicating existing community services.