A sign on the front door of the Glory Hall announces its daytime shelter closure on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. However, the shelter is now open from 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. in light of expectations of near-normal funding. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A sign on the front door of the Glory Hall announces its daytime shelter closure on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. However, the shelter is now open from 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. in light of expectations of near-normal funding. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Not as bad as expected: Juneau’s homeless shelter survives veto scare

A $147,500 loss was feared just a few days ago

Juneau’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen is on track to lose much less funding than it was a month ago.

Mariya Lovishchuk, Executive Director for Glory Hall, said when Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill allocating a $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividend and making further budget cuts, Community Initiative Matching Grants were spared.

“We’re operating under the assumption we will be able to facilitate the grant,” Lovishchuk said in a phone interview.

The grant, which is provided by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, typically provides $50,000 annually to Glory Hall, Lovishchuk said. That money is primarily used to fund meals and keeping the shelter’s day room open.

The state’s Homeless Assistance Program generally provides about $97,500 in funding annually, Lovishchuk said. Initially, all $147,500 was included in Dunleavy’s vetoes, but all of the grant money and 80 percent of the homeless assistance money — $78,000 — is expected to come through this year after vetoes to the Legislature-approved capital budget.

Despite the $17,500 less in state funding, Lovishchuk said the Glory Hall will be open from 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and continue to provide emergency shelter.

[Vetoes could wipe out 20 percent of Glory Hall’s budget]

She said one lasting impact of the financial uncertainty that stemmed from budget vetoes unveiled by the governor in late June is staffing. Lovishchuk said Glory Hall lost two full-time employees and one part-time employee since the funding cuts were announced.

“We have not hired back the positions we lost,” Lovishchuk said.

That leaves just Lovishchuk, Deputy Director Chloe Papier and an AmeriCorps volunteer to run and oversee the Glory Hall. Lovishchuk said replacing those employees could take a while.

“It is going to be really difficult,” she said. “It’s really hard to find staff at the Glory Hall, and the staff we lost were really great. It will take a while to build up.”

[Why Glory Hall could be on the move]

Lovishchuk said the dramatic progress toward mostly normal levels of funding also leads to uncertainty about what level of support the state will provide in the future.

“It just makes me worry about next year, and the year after,” Lovishchuk said.

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

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