In response to the March 25, Juneau Empire article, “Juneau’s most vulnerable woman remembered,” I would like to say the following: I am very sorry if the quotes that were attributed to me in the article were offensive and caused any grief to the family of Ms. Plummer, her friends, those experiencing homelessness, the Glory Hole’s patrons, or anyone else. The Juneau Empire is a source of information and discourse on many issues in our community. The issues Juneau Empire covers need to be represented thoroughly and thoughtfully, and the sources quoted accurately. Unfortunately, I feel that the quotes attributed to me in the aforementioned article fail to accurately represent the ideas and thoughts I presented in my interview.
I did not tell the Juneau Empire that the late Ms. Plummer engaged in violent and non-sanitary behavior inside the Glory Hole. I stated that such behaviors in general contributed to the Glory Hole’s breathalyzer policy. The mission of the Glory Hole is to provide food, shelter, and compassion to those most in need, which makes enforcing the breathalyzer policy very difficult.
Limiting entry to individuals whose blood alcohol content is below .1 allows all of our clients access to a safe, nurturing, and calm environment, a space conducive to getting back on their feet, which allows for improvement and peace. However, it also means that the Glory Hole is unable to provide services for all of those in need, specifically those people who are experiencing chronic homelessness, those with chronic alcohol afflictions, or severe mental health issues. These individuals receive some services from the Glory Hole, including lunches, snacks, showers, laundry, ID assistance, referrals, and other services. Recognizing the discontinuity of services being provided, the Glory Hole now has an outreach coordinator. In light of the recent loss, it is painfully obvious that more is needed.
I would like to point out that I never told Ms. Miller (the articles author) that being in a housing first facility would have prevented Ms. Plummer’s death. I stated multiple times that I am not a medical professional and I can only speculate whether or not Ms. Plummer would still be alive if she had not been living under the Gold Creek Bridge. However, I do know that in a housing first facility Ms. Plummer would have died with the dignity, respect, and love that everyone deserves in this world.
Most importantly, I would like to thank the family very much for attending Ms. Plummer’s memorial at the Glory Hole, for sharing words of kindness and loss with her friends, for strength, for the power of the speeches, and for allowing us all to share in the love, the grief, and the tears. “The entire law can be summed up in a single command, love your neighbor as yourself” Galatians 51:4. Ms.Plummer could have been anyone’s mother, aunt, or sister. We should all do better and we will do better.
The Glory Hole
Editor’s note: The Juneau Empire stands by the the story as reported.