A wide array of social services will now be available under one roof in Juneau.
Teal Street Center, located at 1187 Teal Street in the Mendenhall Valley, has officially opened its doors to assist Juneau residents with a wide array of social services.
Donor relations director for Southeast Alaska Independent Living Sara Callaghan Chapell said it’s been a labor of love that many came together to make happen over the span of many years.
“This has been in the works for more than a decade, organizations like the United Way and SAIL have been thinking about this for many years to try to figure out how we could have this collaborative kind of project, a multi-tenant nonprofit center in Juneau,” Chapel said.
According to Chapell, Teal Street Center will annually serve more than 3,000 people of all ages, cultures and socioeconomic groups. Chapel said the goal is to make the space a convenient welcoming hub of resources for those experiencing physical or mental health disabilities, at-risk youth, elders, veterans, cancer patients and low-income individuals and families.
Additionally, Chapel said the center will eliminate the difficulties of transportation, time and cost for clients trying to meet with providers scattered throughout town, while also strengthening quality social service delivery and serving as a place of dignity for beneficiaries and employees.
In 2019, SAIL and the Glory Hall came together to purchase the property where the Teal Street Center is located at the corner of Teal Street and Alpine Avenue.
“It was just so important to us that we could find a space that could bring organizations together in a way that’s accessible and centralized and really has that strategic mix of opportunity for folks who need It,” Chapel said.
Chapel said that one of the reasons SAIL favored the location was because of its proximity to so many other programs that are already in operation such as St. Vincent’s DePaul, the Juneau Youth Services, as well as Head Start programs and low-income senior housing. Once the property was secured, Chapell said that’s when the process of selecting tenants to occupy the building began.
“We wanted to make sure we had this strategic mix of organizations that served a wide range of folks in Juneau and then also make sure that the kind of services that we wanted would be available on the campus,” Chapel said.
Chapel said organizations were approached several years prior to construction to share the vision of Teal Street and from there, each organization took that information to their respective board of directors to make a “conceptual commitment” to the project.
So far, Chapel said Teal Street has managed to raise $10.3 million with only $500,000 of that existing within a low interest loan. The remainder of the money has come from foundations, government grants, corporate generosity and individual donors.
“That’s one of the reasons the fundraising efforts were so important,” Chapel said. “We were really committed to making sure our tenants had below-market rents available to them, so that we really were focused on helping those nonprofit tenants save money so they could put less of their funding into overhead and more funding into actually providing the services for people.”
Despite construction not quite being completed at this time, Chapel said the decision was made to move into the building early as everyone agreed it was important to start serving patrons in Juneau as soon as possible. Like construction, fundraising efforts also aren’t yet wrapped up. Chapel said they’re still roughly $200,000 short of raising the remaining necessary funds to complete exterior work, but are confident the goal can be reached by this coming fall.
“We’re hoping that we can have everything finished by the summer,” she said. “It’s our hope that we will be complete by next fall and have a real celebration to bring people on campus and have a grand opening. We’re hoping that the remaining $200,000 we can have secured by June 15.”
SAIL Executive Director Joan O’Keefe echoed many of Chapel’s sentiments regarding the importance and significance of the inclusiveness of social services within Juneau and Southeast.
“Collaboration is one of our core values,” she said. “We know that we serve our consumers best when we collaborate with other agencies, we can’t do it all, we’re a small agency. We partner with so many other nonprofits in this building and we have for years, so it just makes sense to be all in one place,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe gave the example of Alaska Legal Services, who are one of the many organizations housed inside the new building. O’Keefe said that it’s invaluable to be able to personally walk clients down the hall to the legal services office.
“It’s going to make it way easier for people to get services and that’s what we’re all about,” O’Keefe said. “We’re amazingly grateful for the support of the community, City and Borough of Juneau, the Juneau Community Foundation, individual donors, businesses and small family foundations. This has been a tremendous effort and we’re super proud of our community for coming together to make this happen.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.