Woody MacAllister hangs out on Franklin Street at Ferry Way with his dog, Rainy, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. McAllister said he doesn’t stay at the Glory Hall, Juneau’s emergency shelter and soup kitchen, but does eat there. The shelter is closing their doors from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily due to budget cuts forcing their homeless clients to find other places to be. Oatmeal and coffee were available to clients before leaving the shelter but no lunch is available. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Woody MacAllister hangs out on Franklin Street at Ferry Way with his dog, Rainy, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. McAllister said he doesn’t stay at the Glory Hall, Juneau’s emergency shelter and soup kitchen, but does eat there. The shelter is closing their doors from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily due to budget cuts forcing their homeless clients to find other places to be. Oatmeal and coffee were available to clients before leaving the shelter but no lunch is available. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Homeless shelter day room closes for week

Glory Hall scales back amid budget questions.

The subtle flurry of activity at the downtown Juneau homeless shelter and soup kitchen Thursday morning was similar to preparations students take at the end of a rainy school day.

Backpacks were zipped, hands patted pockets to make sure belongings were in place and many Glory Hall patrons adjusted hats or hoods before stepping out into the gray morning’s light rain.

“This is when it sucks to not have a place,” Glory Hall patron Lance James said. “God forbid we get to winter like this.”

[Photos and video: No daytime shelter, no lunch]

Typically, the Glory Hall offers an open day room to give Juneau’s homeless people a place to get out of the elements or spend time off of the streets, but this past week day room hours and lunch servings were cut while the downtown shelter waits to find out how much state funding it will receive. While the funding picture isn’t totally settled, normal day room hours for weekdays are expected to resume on Monday since the lion’s share of state money is now poised to come through.

A homeless person sleeps in the doorway at the Capital Transit Center on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. The Glory Hall, Juneau’s emergency shelter and soup kitchen, is closing their doors from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily due to budget cuts forcing their homeless clients to find other places to be. Oatmeal and coffee were available to clients before leaving the shelter but no lunch is available. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A homeless person sleeps in the doorway at the Capital Transit Center on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. The Glory Hall, Juneau’s emergency shelter and soup kitchen, is closing their doors from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily due to budget cuts forcing their homeless clients to find other places to be. Oatmeal and coffee were available to clients before leaving the shelter but no lunch is available. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The state’s Homeless Assistance Program and Community Initiative Matching grants have typically provided about 20 percent of Glory Hall’s funding, said Mariya Lovishchuk, Glory Hall Executive Director, in an interview. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget vetoes announced in July put both of those revenue streams in doubt.

[How vetoes could impact Glory Hall]

Some of that money was restored when the governor signed the capital budget into last month— Lovishchuk said about 80 percent of $97,500 in Homeless Assistance Program funding is expected — but the fate of the $50,000 community grant that’s used primarily to keep the day room open and provide meals is in legislative limbo. An announced bill signing Monday may clear things up, or potentially trigger a third special session for the Alaska Legislature.

Lovishchuk said cutting day room hours during a mostly sunny stretch of August while waiting to make an informed decision was partially done to ensure funds are left to open the room during harsher winter months.

“No matter what happens we will do full service between Oct. 15 and April 15,” Lovishchuk said.

While the day room is anticipated to open again on Monday, she said on weekends it will likely only be open 2-10 p.m., and the future of lunch meals is unclear.

Initially, breakfast seemed to be on the chopping block for this week as well, but oatmeal and coffee were prepared and served by Lovishchuk and deputy director Chloe Papier.

“I view that as a wonderful community thing,” James said. “They’re doing what they can in this moment, and that’s to be applauded. I probably wouldn’t have eaten this morning if I didn’t have that.”

Homeless people spend their time on the Decker Way stairs after the Glory Hall’s closure on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. The emergency shelter and soup kitchen is closing their doors from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily due to budget cuts forcing their homeless clients to find other places to be. Oatmeal and coffee were available to clients before leaving the shelter but no lunch is available. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Homeless people spend their time on the Decker Way stairs after the Glory Hall’s closure on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. The emergency shelter and soup kitchen is closing their doors from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily due to budget cuts forcing their homeless clients to find other places to be. Oatmeal and coffee were available to clients before leaving the shelter but no lunch is available. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The news that day room hours would be returning that was confirmed by Lovishchuk Thursday afternoon was warmly welcomed by patrons who spoke to the Empire.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t have to deal with this for too long,” said Glory Hall patron Keoki Tafaoialii.

[Governor to sign bill Monday, but uncertainty remains about vetoes]

Tafaoialii said in light of the effect the vetoes have had, he signed one of the petitions circulating to recall the governor.

“It did feel good to be a part of something and take a stand against something that was directly affecting my life,” Tafaoialii said.

Most patrons who spoke to the Empire said during the week they were slightly discouraged by the reduced day room hours, but said morale hasn’t bottomed out.

Tafaoialii said it was his second of two days off from his job, so the week hadn’t been too tough so far, and he planned to fill his time with walks and a medical appointment.

“I think I’m going to try to keep myself busy,” Tafaoialii said.

Patron Robert Fawcett said he planned to spend the day looking for any work he might be able to find.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” he said.

James predicted morale would go downhill quickly with rainier or colder weather, and said in some ways things had already taken a downward turn in the form of stealing among the homeless.

[Why Glory Hall could be on the move]

While James said the backpack carrying their belongings is never left unattended, there’s been an observable uptick in people’s belongings being taken.

“One thing that’s gotten bad lately is stealing among the homeless,” James said. “I saw it happening before, but it’s gotten really bad this week.”


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

Thunder Mountain High School graduates celebrate after moving their tassels to the left, their newly received diplomas in hand, at the end of Sunday’s commencement ceremony. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
‘Forever a Falcon’: Thunder Mountain High School celebrates final graduating class

147 seniors get soaring sendoff during 16th annual commencement full of heightened emotions.

Seniors at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé enter the gymnasium for their commencement ceremony on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
JDHS graduates celebrate journey from virtual ‘pajama class’ freshmen to virtuous camaraderie

Resolve in overcoming struggles a lifelong lesson for future, seniors told at commencement ceremony.

Sierra Guerro-Flores (right) listens to her advisor Electra Gardinier after being presented with her diploma at Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School’s graduation ceremony Sunday in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé auditorium. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Alternatives are vast for Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School’s graduating class

31 students take center stage during ceremony revisiting their paths at the school and what’s next.

The LeConte state ferry in 2023. (Lex Treinen / Chilkat Valley News)
Stranded Beerfest travelers scramble to rebook after LeConte ferry breakdown

Loss of 225-passenger ferry leaves many Juneau-bound revelers looking for other ways home.

A photo taken from the terminal roof shows the extent of the first phase of paving to accommodate large aircraft. (Mike Greene / City and Borough of Juneau)
Large-scale repaving project plants itself at Juneau International Airport

Work may take two to three years, schedule seeks to limit impact on operations.

Capital Transit buses wait to depart from the downtown transit center on Thursday. Route number 8 was adjusted this spring. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
More service, visitor information helping Capital Transit to keep up with extra cruise passenger traffic

Remedies made after residents unable to board full buses last year seem to be working, officials say

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, May 23, 2024

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

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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

Most Read