The Glory Hall opened the doors of its new facility Thursday at its new location on Teal Street in the Mendenhall Valley, leaving the shelter’s executive director hopeful for the future.
“So far, so good,” said Mariya Lovishchuk, executive director of the longtime Juneau organization that helps provide food and shelter to people experiencing homelessness. “We’re super thankful to the community. We’re going to have a grand opening at some point, but we can’t say when.”
Hallways were still full of moving boxes and things still being sorted, but patrons say they’re happy to be there.
“I’ve never seen this much resources put towards one facility,” said Gabrial Katzeek, 39, who is currently living at the Glory Hall.
Katzeek said there are facilities available for people to shower and do laundry as well as get off the streets. He was currently living at the shelter, but Katzeek said he didn’t think people would use what the facility offers as a reason to stay homeless.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction for people who are homeless,” Katzeek said.
The new facility has 42 small personal sleeping spaces and 12 overflow beds, Lovishchuk said, and could easily make space for another 12. Vaccination rates among patrons are fairly high, she said, but didn’t give an exact number. Glory Hall staff have been consulting with a doctor regarding health mitigation procedures at the facility and will meet with City and Borough of Juneau staff Monday to discuss strategies for raising vaccination rates, Lovishchuk said.
Plans to build a combined social services center next door to the new facility a boost Thursday when the project received major grant funding from the Rasmuson Foundation.
Juneau Police Department Officer Jim Quinto stopped by the new Glory Hall Friday. Quinto said his duties involved working with the homelessness issue in downtown Juneau. Quinto hadn’t been called to the Glory Hall, but said he was there to talk to people and build relationships. Quinto said he believed the new shelter would help alleviate some of the tensions between homeless people and businesses in downtown Juneau.
One patron, Ramold “Falcon” Swindler, said he was extremely grateful for the hospitality shown at the Glory Hall.
“I’m glad these people let me be a part of it,” Swindler said. “They let me come in, they let me help clean. I’m truly grateful now that I have a room.”
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.