Rooms Make Big Difference in the Lives of Juneau's Homeless (Alaska Housing Finance Corporation)

Date Published: 
September 26th, 2019

From U.S. News & World Report:

Evidence of a life filled with love, cultural pride and art gathered quickly in William Brown's room.

But two years ago, he would have had no place to put gifts from his daughter and sister that sit on top of his fridge, the photograph of his recently deceased mother that smiles from his living room table or the books about arts, photography and Tlingit history that sit on most available surfaces.

"I'd give it away pretty much," Brown said in an interview with the Empire. "What am I supposed to do with it if I have no place to live?"

Before the Housing First Collaborative building in Lemon Creek opened its doors to tenants in September 2017, Brown spent most of the past two years sleeping in the streets.

He far prefers the time he's spent at the building dubbed "Forget-Me-Not Manor."

The building includes 32 single-resident rooms, an onsite clinic and pharmacy, common kitchen area, day room and laundry rooms. It is staffed 24 hours per day by 14 Glory Hall employees, and its residents are people who were experiencing long-term homelessness with a high vulnerability index. Vulnerability index ranks people based on their risk for premature death.

The facility was controversial when it was first proposed since it does not ban alcohol and would house many people with histories of substance misuse and frequent contact with the police and other emergency responders in one place. However, after two years of operations, it has proven to be a success in the eyes of its staff, researchers, city officials and tenants.


Construction is happening on the next phase of the Housing First project.

The second phase will add 32 single residences to the building and is expected to be done by late summer of next year, Lovishchuk said. She said there is definitely a need for the additional units.


The second phase of the project, which had a $6.1 million fundraising goal, was made possible through a combination of fundraising, grants and donations.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation awarded the project a grant of about $2.5 million, which led to domino-ing support from the City and Borough of Juneau ($1.8 million), Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority ($350,000), Bartlett Regional Hospital ($250,000), Premera Blue Cross ($250,000) among others.


Read U.S. News & World Report's article "Rooms Make Big Difference in the Lives of Juneau's Homeless," featuring the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. 

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