Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Hands-on care: Homeless receive haircuts, food, help at community event

Annual event tries to help, account for the homeless population

Some people got their feet washed. Some had blood tests, or applied for classes, or sought help for legal issues. Some just enjoyed a hot meal.

“This is the first real meal I’ve eaten eaten in over a month. I don’t get hot food unless I go to the warming shelter,” Cary Shilts said.

The Juneau Coalition of Housing and Homelessness hosted more than 200 Juneau residents experiencing homelessness at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Wednesday.

“It’s important for the community to know what’s happening to its residents,” said Scott Ciambor, chief housing officer for the City and Borough of Juneau, who helped out at the event, called Homeless Connect. “This is my ninth one. I’ve been involved every year.”

People experiencing homelessness entered the JACC and registered via the point-in-time count, an annual national count to assess the current state of homelessness in the United States. Ciambor estimated between 220 and 250 people experiencing homelessness participated, roughly the same number as years past.

Guests stand in line for a hot lunch at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Guests stand in line for a hot lunch at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

“It’s an important event. People get helped immediately; decision-makers at the local, state and federal levels get to look at the point-in-time data,” Ciambor said. “It’s a little more complicated than just counting the people that show up today.”

Lia Sickoria, a registered nurse at Bartlett Regional Hospital, cleans a guest’s feet at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Lia Sickoria, a registered nurse at Bartlett Regional Hospital, cleans a guest’s feet at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Various groups set up inside the JACC provided specific assistance to those who asked for it, and everyone received food. Groups provided assistance in a variety of forms, including legal and medical and benefits assistance, including specifics like HIV/AIDS testing, haircuts and dealing with foot problems such as infections or toenail issues.

Shilts, who was participating in the event with his dog, was concerned about a host of health issues, and generally worried about the future.

“I don’t know how all this is going to work,” Shilts said of how to receive medical care. He added that he relies on his dog for support and that his dog has saved his life.

“This dog has been with me for 14 years, and I’m not giving him up,” he said.

Cary Shilts, a guest, poses with his dog at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Cary Shilts, a guest, poses with his dog at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Special emphasis was spent on bringing in the under-25 population of people experiencing homelessness. The JCHH offered coupons for free pizza to unaccompanied people under 25.

Genevieve Schmidt, an AmeriCorps servicemember working with the Learning Connection, said that they’d had a pretty busy morning, with a lot of interest in signing up for the classes offered for adults.

“We’ve had a lot of folks signing up for classes,” Schmidt said. “We’ve filled up the entire sheet.”

Jamiann Hasselquist, who cut hair at the event, said that this is her fourth year volunteering, and that the same could be said for most of the other volunteer hair dressers.

“It’s been good listening to people’s stories and helping them on their healing journeys,” Hasselquist said.

Steve Lythgoe, who received a trim from Hasselquist, said that he had gotten a lot done at the JACC that morning.

“I want people to know that this really helps,” Lythgoe said. “It’s good that they get this going, especially this time of winter.”

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Steven Lythgoe gets his hair cut by Jamiann Hasselquist at the Zach Gordon Youth Center during the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event, Jan. 29, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

A volunteer serves food to a guest at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

A volunteer serves food to a guest at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Volunteers from Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium help with medical issues and vaccinations at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Volunteers from Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium help with medical issues and vaccinations at the Juneau Coalition for Housing and Homelessness’ 9th annual Homeless Connect event at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Wednesday. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 7

Here’s what to expect this week.

This photo shows a notice to quit form, which is a first step in the long process of evictions that the Alaska Court System hopes to make easier with a grant-supported Eviction Diversion Initiative. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Grant-supported program could mean fewer eviction cases in Alaska’s courts

Eviction diversion program seeks to provide resources before a case is filed.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

This late-April photo shows a damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminding people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. Masks will not be required in school buildings this year. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday Aug. 12, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

From left, Kelsey Dean, watershed scientist with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, and Kaagwaan Eesh Manuel Rose-Bell of Keex’ Kwáan watch as crew members set up tools to drag a log into place. Healthy salmon habitat requires woody debris, typically provided by falling branches and trees, which helps create deep salmon pools and varied stream structure. (Courtesy Photos / Mary Catharine Martin)
 
The SalmonState: Bringing the sockeye home

Klawock Indigenous Stewards and partners are working to a once prolific sockeye salmon run.

Most Read