Shelther homeless in former school

Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2009

If I was queen, I would tell the city of Juneau to open up the old abandoned Gastineau Elementary School in Douglas to all homeless people in the Juneau area. After all, homeless people were recently booted off Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. property, and the city really should take care of all its residents.

Do any of us really want anyone homeless in Juneau to face the risk of dying in the winter? Of course not. Since the city has this building that is partially used for storage, but otherwise available for whatever, I think it would be the perfect place for homeless people to hunker down during the winter. They could help out the city in the meantime. Give them a job and make them pay for their space. Why not? It's a win-win situation.

What I mean is this: Give them a classroom for themselves. Make them paint and keep it clean and neat. Have a cafeteria. After all, this is a former grade school. Some can cook, some can be janitors, some can help with landscaping or snow shoveling. They would live in Douglas and not be a part of the Juneau tourist center that we are trying to make appealing to outsiders. Really, do we want homeless people downtown? I think not.

I hope that the people of Juneau would contribute all they could in the way of furniture and other help to see this succeeds. There are other things that could happen. But for starters, a place of shelter for the winter is most important.

Marie Kanan

Douglas Island

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