Juneau can do more to help homeless

Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A few weeks ago, the Juneau homeless coalition held a candlelight vigil at Marine Park to remember the homeless of Juneau. There were only about 20 people there. It was cold that night but nothing unusual. There should have been more in attendance.

The people of Juneau can be very generous with donations, especially around the holidays. But why couldn't they take a half hour out of their lives to show a little caring and understanding by just showing up and then going to the Glory Hole for a good warm meal? It was the same meal that the homeless depend so much on every day of the week.

Last year, a count showed Juneau had about 400 homeless residents. These are adults, young adults and children. Many don't know where they'll spend the night, or they are couch surfing and relying on the goodness of their friends. If all else fails, they will sleep under bridges, abandoned cars or wherever they can find some shelter. In extremely bad weather, some will try to get arrested so they can spend the night in lockup where it is safe and warm.

The homeless problem is not going to go away and an out of sight, out of mind attitude will not solve it. Please participate by donating time.

The Juneau Homeless Coalition is coordinating the Homeless Point in Time Count and Project Homeless Connect on Monday at Centennial Hall. Local businesses and citizens are invited to encourage homeless members of our community to participate in the count.

Donations can be made to the Service Providers including; AWARE, Front Street Clinic, Gastineau Human Services, Housing First, JAMHI, Juneau Youth Services, Polaris House, St. Vincent de Paul and The Glory Hole. Call the United Way to volunteer at 463-5530.

Stan Marston


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