In response to the number of homeless youth in Juneau, the Northern Light United Church has partnered with the Glory Hole Shelter and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School to establish a small shelter for young adults.
According to Yaakoosge staff, at one point last spring, 72 out of 180 students were identified as homeless — couch surfing at the homes of friends or relatives, or simply camping out in the elements.
The mission of the NLUC Shelter is to provide a safe place to stay for the Juneau School District’s young adults experiencing homelessness. Yaakoosge students ages 18 to 24 will be referred to this pilot program by school staff.
NLUC is located within walking distance of the high school and other resources.
The shelter’s check-in and check-out times coincide with the start of school in the morning and with Zach Gordon Youth Center’s closure in the evening so that students can have a structured, safe environment throughout the entire day.
NLUC was awarded $10,000 from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to convert space in the church to accommodate up to 16 students. Renovations completed in time for the start of school include new lockers, separate sleeping space for young men and women, and showers.
Two shelter coordinators and many volunteers have opened the doors to provide a safe, warm, and inviting place for students.