Juneau homelessness continues to rise

Juneau is seeing an increase in homelessness.

That was part of the a report giving by CBJ Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor during the COW meeting Monday. In his report, Ciambor showed various numbers from Jan. 24, 2018 to display this increase. A total of 235 people were accounted for in unshelter, emergency shelter or transitional housing. This number is an increase from 2016 (211) and 2017 (215). Assembly member Norton Gregory asked if this increase was reflective of the city better tracking homelessness or if other factors played a role.

“My sense it is a multitude of factors,” Ciambor said. “I kind of think the impact of the lack of affordable housing, cost of living and opioid epidemic.”

With the addition of an emergency cold weather sheltered added this past winter, Weldon wanted to know if the addition actually led to the intended result.

“Looking at these numbers, it looks like we did a lot of stuff and made no difference or we did a lot of stuff and people just used it,” Weldon said.

Ciambor agreed that the numbers, especially the number of unsheltered homelessness (44) in the study was still too high although it was a decrease from 2017 (59).

In discussing the cold weather shelter, Ciambor shared numbers of people who used the shelter. Ciambor said the average number of people using the facility was between 20-25 and that maximum capacity was 30. Ciambor did not have numbers available for how many nights the shelter reached maximum capacity. Ciambor added that the shelter was successful due to its narrowed usage. The facility opened for 70 nights between Dec. 1 through April 15 when temperatures dropped 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

“It was very focused,” Ciambor said. “It did what it was supposed to do and did not try to do too much more.”

Irene Gallion, CBJ Housing and Homeless Services Coordinator, presented a way to help manage the homelessness issue by using a coordinated entry referral system. The system, Gallion said, would prioritize individuals for housing based on their needs. When clients enter the homelessness services system in Juneau, staff will collect data that is used to develop a vulnerability index. Those who are more vulnerable may use shelters more often than most and could have more police interaction.

“Our most vulnerable population is also our most expensive,” Ga


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


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. 14

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

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

This October 2020 photo shows the MV Kennicott. The Alaska Marine Highway System's winter ferry schedule is now available for review. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Winter ferry schedule available for review

Comments now being accepted.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

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

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

Most Read