City to hear report on cold weather shelter

Operating for 70 nights this past winter, the City and Borough of Juneau-funded cold weather shelter saved lives.

That result is part of the presentation from CBJ Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor will give during the Committee of the Whole regular meeting at Assembly Chambers at 6 p.m. Monday.

In the report, Ciambor outlines what the shelter was able to accomplish and how it helped relieve stress from other Juneau emergency services systems. However, it could be better, he said.

“Even though the project was up and running quickly, additional safety precautions and staff training would be essential to operating a similar project in the future,” Ciambor said in the report. “Providing adequate staffing was a big challenge for Glory Hole (homeless shelter) and AWARE (Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies).”

Ciambor points out that one staffer, Jackie Bryant, worked most nights the shelter opened and helped stabilize the project.

Due to how quickly the shelter got up and running, Ciambor said earlier planning would need to be done. The shelter — operated at the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Public Safety Building — was funded in the amount of $75,000 from the city in November last year and opened December. It ran though April 15 and was open every night temperatures dropped 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

In the report, statistics gathered through Homeless Management Information System state the shelter served 158 unique individuals with 715 total bed nights.

Feedback from other organizations also credit the success of the shelter. This past winter was the first time the Glory Hole homeless shelter was not over capacity. The Juneau Police Department added that camping concerns were minimized during the shelter’s operation.

Ciambor will also discuss prevention and precautions that will need to be addressed to ensure the shelter runs more smoothly next year. Some of the goals include: prepping service teams in October and November, training team members on alcohol and overdose recognition and recognizing whether a person is actually homeless.

The COW will also receive an annual report from the Utility Advisory Board and hear from JPD on recruitment and retention.

Finance Committee continues budget work

The CBJ Finance Committee will begin working on items previously moved to the “pending list” for consideration in the city’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget during its meeting at Assembly Chambers at 5 p.m. Thursday.

One item in particular that will be discussed is funding in the amount of $250,000 for Eaglecrest Ski Area to purchase a snow-making machine. During the April 11 committee meeting, Eaglecrest General Manager was asked to provide more information on the longevity of the machine and how quickly the machine would pay for itself through tickets and season passes.

The committee will also hear a presentation from Best Starts for Juneau Kids and respond to a funding request from the Juneau Commission on Aging.

• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.

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