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Front Street clinic gets six more months

Posted: September 6, 2013 - 2:17pm  |  Updated: September 8, 2013 - 12:07am

The Front Street Clinic will not be closed on Oct. 1 after all.

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced plans to close the clinic late last month, but community associations managed to raise about $100,000 in less than a week to keep the facility operational.

SEARHC is a nonprofit tribal health consortium that works with the Indian Health Service in providing medical services to Native communities in Southeast Alaska.

Operating the Juneau clinic, which serves a significant amount of the city’s homeless population, costs SEARHC between $300,000 and $400,000 a year, said Mike Jenkins, director of corporate communications for SEARHC.

The initial decision to close the clinic was primarily a budget issue, but the $100,000 raised will be enough to keep it operational while alternative funding means are developed, Jenkins said.

“It was an investment by the community saying, ‘We know it’s important to keep the clinic open,’” Jenkins said. “We’re going to continue to offer services through April in 2014, and hopefully by then the city, state and other community associations will be ready to take over.”

SEARHC is devoting $90,000 in federal grant money to keep the clinic operational while community organizers work to secure the necessary means to keep the clinic open long term.

“The goal is maintaining it as a viable service to the homeless, because it is needed in Juneau,” Jenkins said.

Contact reporter Matt Woolbright at 523-2243 or at matthew.woolbright@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reportermatt.

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