I was awestruck when I first visited Juneau in the summer of 2003. Two years later after moving, I still feel the same. I'm 31, single, love the outdoors and all that Mother Nature has to offer. I have since discovered that living in Juneau can be a great struggle. Not only was a good-paying job hard to come by, but to have one with great benefits (i.e. medical) was even rarer. I was even more shocked to find out that I could qualify for low-income housing if I made under $40,000 per year. To me, making that kind of money is making a really good living. Why would one need to qualify for low-income housing? Then I became familiar with the housing cost and understood why. An average house in Juneau is roughly $200,000. How can any young single-income person afford that? Maybe it'd be affordable if you had no bills, but what American has no bills?
In recent months I have read in the Empire that something should be done to bring the youth back to Juneau. I agree, and I consider myself part of that youth. I had been trying to live here in Juneau with hardly any success. I have, however, been fortunate enough to obtain a job with Coeur Alaska. Not only is the wage great, but they have the best benefits package I have ever been offered by an employer. They treat their employees the way an employer should, and treat the environment where they work even better.
I have seen first-hand the amount of work that Coeur Alaska has done to build and mine in the most environmentally sound way possible. They have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them. To ask more is just being petty. Working for Coeur has given me the opportunity to stay in Juneau, make a good living and some day buy a home. I hope this opportunity will be available for other young members of this community. I know that Coeur Alaska will do all they can to provide that opportunity. Let the mine progress. Help bring back and keep the youth in Juneau.