Glory Hole a place of value to many

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2001

When visitors to Juneau ask, "How do you care for the elderly?" The answer is three senior centers and the Pioneers' Home. "Where do victims of domestic violence get help?" AWARE shelter. "Are there alcohol or drug treatment centers?" Gastineau Human Services and the Juneau Recovery Hospital. They also want to know if we have homeless, street people, poor and mentally ill. Yes, we do.

The Glory Hole is Juneau's award-winning homeless shelter-soup kitchen - and much more.

In 1990, when the old hotel which had been serving as a makeshift shelter-soup kitchen, was torn down, this area was know as Wino Alley. There were bars and dance halls and flop-houses. Drunks lay on the sidewalk. The community raised the $685,000 to build this safe, beautiful and substantial building.

Here, the poor, those with brain disorders, those without hope as well as those who came here and got stuck, can: Take a bath. Wash their clothes. Have a good meal. Find free medical care. Find a kind person to listen and make suggestions as to a person's choices. Find a warm, safe place to sleep. Get help in finding work and a place to live - or, to leave Juneau.

This building belongs to God. It is administered by many faiths - 35 groups take turns serving dinner every night. No one is turned away unless they behave with violence or are so inebriated that they could be ill or not be able to remove themselves in case of emergency.

You would not be turned away even if you looked rich! Juneau is proud to have one of the 10 best shelters in America (HUD, 1994) and supports the Cooperative Christian Ministries, which supervises this shelter. This is a United Way Agency. It is located at 247 S. Franklin St.

The Glory Hole is 20 years old in September. It is located in the only place which was accessible and available in 1990. It's a good thing it fits into the Historical District since it also looks good in what is now a gift shop area. The sign outside says (in Tlingit) "Grandpa's Place" and you know you are always welcome at Grandpa's. So go visit, tell tourists what and why it is, and drop off a donation while you are at it. Many of us feel it shows what a caring, good town Juneau is. It is one of the reasons my family loves Juneau.

Ellen Northup


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