This July photo shows the new Glory Hall, located near the airport. It will form a component of a growing social services campus. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

This July photo shows the new Glory Hall, located near the airport. It will form a component of a growing social services campus. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Opinion: New Glory Hall has solved challenges, but community support remains key

Please consider getting involved.

  • Wednesday, October 27, 2021 2:51pm
  • Opinion

By now, many Juneau residents have driven past the new Glory Hall facility, located on Teal Street near the airport. It’s hard to imagine, but we broke ground for the building just one year ago, and we opened our doors in July of this year! The new building is an important upgrade over our previous facility on Franklin Street and is driven by our mission— providing food, shelter and compassion to our neighbors experiencing homelessness and poverty.

When the board decided it was time for a new facility, our main motivation was to better serve this mission. We identified several limitations in the old building, such as lack of accessibility, lack of adequate, respectful sleeping space (bunks only), lack of personal storage, and a lack of a safe outside space for patrons. Today, drive by the new building and you’ll see the upstairs windows in each of the small individual rooms where our patrons sleep. Step inside, and you’ll find an elevator, which finally allows us to accommodate patrons with mobility issues. You’ll also see more secure areas for storage, where patrons store tools or outdoor gear or life mementoes they’ll carry to a new home. And then, step outside: there’s fresh air, trees and green space. You’ll also notice our recently completed fence, allowing a safer outdoor boundary.

It might be surprising to learn just how many Glory Hall patrons do actually move on to new homes. In the last three months, in fact, we’ve helped 30 people move from homelessness to more stable housing situations. Some have moved to permanent housing either in the community or with Housing First. Some have found employment which includes housing. Some have reunited with family. Others have moved into long term rehabilitation. Many of these placements have been in conjunction with our community partners: Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority and Veterans Administration Housing Assistance have placed patrons in more permanent housing. Our proximity to St. Vincent’s also allows patrons to better access their services. The Front Street Clinic mobile van is on site twice a week, and Bartlett Community Navigators join us 2-3 times per week. Our new site has made it easier for us to improve service to our patrons— as well as collaborate with our partners.

Community collaborations are key to improving the health of our patrons and Juneau. The United Human Services construction site next to our new facility is a great example, and the joint campus with UHS is designed to comprehensively serve a wide variety of patrons and clients. UHS will soon be breaking ground on this new building. UHS is a group of nonprofits, including Alaska Legal Services, Disability Law Center, SAIL, and NAMI, among others. Check out UHS’s website at tealstreetcenter.org for more information. The Glory Hall and UHS will host a joint Grand Opening/GroundBreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As we reflect on the past year, we are grateful for the support in so many ways from so many of you in our community. The Board of Directors of The Glory Hall is humbled by these efforts, as well as excited by the progress that has been made — and our ability to continue to serve our patrons safely during the pandemic. We continue to face many challenges. In fact, our new facility is already filled to capacity. Each patron has a unique story, and it’s our role to support everyone via our mission. As the days darken and winter approaches, we ask you again to assist us as we serve food, shelter and compassion. Please consider getting involved by volunteering to cook, visiting our website (feedjuneau.org) to donate, or by simply being kind to those who need support and access to stability and resources in our community.

The Board of Directors of The Glory Hall: Bruce Denton, Chair; Tom Wagner, Vice Chair; Joyce Niven, Treasurer; Pat Minick, Secretary; Jorden Nigro; Merry Ellefson; Mary Aparezuk; Greg Smith; Grace Sikes, Youth Representative; Marla Berg; Debbie Maas; and Robin Gilcrist. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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