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Cold Weather Emergency Shelter

 

RLC Warming Shelter Operating Status

The RLC Warming Shelter will be:

  • open at 10:30 pm tonight; and
  • at least through Sunday, December 11th.

More information can be found at warmingshelter.org, including the shelter’s location, operation status, procedures and guidelines, and notifications methods.

Contact RLC Regarding the Warming Shelter

Email concerns, suggestions for impact mitigation and questions to Brad Perkins, RLC Warming Shelter Manager: manager@warmingshelter.org.

You can also call Brad directly at 808 782 5795.

The RLC Warming Shelter Staff can be reached during operating hours at 907-586-2380.

RLC Warming Shelter 2021/22 Operation Summary

In what ended up being a particularly harsh winter for those without stable housing, the RLC Warming Shelter during its 2021/22 operation:

  • was open 100% from November 17th to April 15th (expectation was 80%) due to near 32° and below for entire season, opening as early as 9 pm when near 0°;
  • provided 3,535 shelter nights for 346 unique patrons at a cost of $46 per night, where each patron stayed an average of 10 nights and 63% of patrons stayed five or fewer nights;
  • hosted 30 to 40 patrons each night (expectation was up to 28), providing a hot, freshly prepared, nutritious dinner and breakfast; and
  • every patron welcome to return next night, regardless of prior behavior, while treating each patron in accordance with RLC guest service guidelines (based on Disney Institute).

RLC Warming Shelter Operating Practices

Resurrection Lutheran Church (RLC) operates the Cold Weather Emergency Shelter (CWES) (aka the RLC Warming Shelter) under a contract from the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ):

  • on behalf of the CBJ;
  • in the best interest, compassion and empathy toward:
    • Warming Shelter patrons;
    • RLC neighbors (including Harborview Elementary School); and
    • Juneau community, and
  • such that the RLC Warming Shelter:
    • complies with its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) (and amendments);
    • meets the requirements of the CBJ contract
    • operating costs do not exceed the fixed-fee paid under the CBJ contract;
    • complies with RLC Warming Shelter:
      • Patron Code of Conduct;
      • Guest Service Guidelines; and
      • staff operational training, guidelines and policies.

While the CBJ contract specifies certain minimum operating guidelines:

  • days when the predicted temperature (as determined on the prior day at noon) to be 32° or below;
  • November 15 to April 15;
  • from 11 pm to 6:30 am;
  • two staff on duty; and
  • reporting through AKHMIS,

neither party wants or expects the shelter to be operated solely in accordance with these minimums.

The RLC Warming Shelter managers have been involved with the management of the CWES since its second year of operation in 2017.   Pastor Karen Perkins was the trainer and fill-in staff for the CWES and Brad Perkins was General Manager for St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) and the CWES (and author of the CWES contract) for 2017-19. Additionally, Pastor Karen has 25 years of working with the homeless and those in need (including as a San Francisco Night Minister), and Brad has 20 years experience.

The RLC Warming Shelter is a low barrier shelter for adults, where patrons are accepted each night regardless of sobriety or prior behavior.  The managers state their mission is to “keep our patrons alive” overnight by giving them a place to stay out of the cold.  While RLC reserves the right to operate the shelter (if necessary for budgetary or other compelling rasons) in strict accordance with the CBJ contact, in order to effectively manage such a shelter, the managers have developed certain operational practices:

  • While not required by the CBJ contract, feed patrons.
    • Since there is no longer regular food service for our patrons downtown and most have not eaten that day, the shelter provides a hot, freshly prepared, nutritious dinner.
    • The managers have found feeding the patrons upon arrival (besides being the humane and compasinate thing to do) increases their cooperation and allows them to sleep.
    • The same holds true for getting them up in the morning with regard to a hot breakfast, which will often be the only food they get until they return when the shelter reopens in the evening.
  • Open the shelter on nights when weather conditions are above freezing, but:
      • would otherwise put patrons at risk, such as significant wind-chill, and/or precipitation, nights of traditional dangerous behaviors (e.g. New Year’s Eve), etc.; and
      • one or two isolated, predicted nights above freezing where forcing shelter residents out on to the streets and then allowing them right back into the shelter would cause them, the community and shelter staff more upheaval than cost saving.
  • Opening at a time in the evening when patrons need to get out of the cold.
    • Perhaps contrary to a perception of some RLC neighbors and others, RLC does not desire open the Warming Shelter as early in the evening as possible or keep it open as late in morning as possible.  Each of these situations creates operational and budgetary challenges for RLC.  It is actually in RLC’s interest, from a staffing, overtime (budget), patron-management, facility-cleaning, food service, etc. perspective, to open at 10:30 P.M. and close the doors as early as possible.
    • However, when the temperatures were below zero degrees by 8:00 P.M. last January, there was no place for patrons to go.  They found inappropriate places to congregate (at RLC, in the RLC neighborhood, etc.) while waiting for the shelter to open, creating challenges for patrons, staff, and RLC neighbors.  Thus, while not regularly in RLC’s interest to open as early as 8:00 pm, it may open earlier than 10:30 PM on those days it determines it is in the best interest of the patrons and the RLC neighbors.
  • Closing in the morning so that patrons can go directly to buses or shuttles.
    • It is certainly RLC’s desire to manage the shelter closing time to maximize the opportunities for the  patrons to get where they want to be. It is counter-productive to push them out at a time where there is nowhere for them to go other than into the RLC neighborhood.  It is explicitly the staffs’ responsibility (to the extent they can monitor it) to see that the patrons not only leave the shelter at closing time but minimize the impact on the RLC neighborhood.
    • The CBJ buses and other shuttles are available starting a 7 am, and that is our closing time.
  • Opening date for the winter when temperatures go below 32 degrees and staying open date (fixed-fee contract budget allowing).
    • The CBJ has attempted to provide RLC with a sufficient fixed-fee this winter to allow for this, and the CBJ Planning Commission removed the date restrictions on the shelter’s CUP.
    • However, the shortage of food from the SE Alaska Food Bank – the primary source of food for the RLC Warming Shelter – put unexpected budgetary pressure on RLC Warming Shelter operations because of the need to purchase some food at retail prices.  This meant that the shelter needed to be cautious about opening before temperatures were below freezing. However, it did so On October 21, six days after the CBJ homelessness camp closed when night-time temperatures first went below 40 degrees.  Within a week, the shelter had reach an average occupancy 35 to 40 patrons.

Resurrection Lutheran Church Community Service Programs

Resurrection Lutheran Church (RLC) would like to acknowledge that we are on historical land of the A’akw Kwáan and T’aaḵu Kwáan, the Indigenous people of this land. For more than 10,000 years, Alaska Native people have been and continue to be integral to the well-being of our community. We are grateful to be part of this community, and to honor the culture, tradition and perseverance of the Tlingit people. Please forgive our missteps as we try to acknowledge some of the wrongs of the past. Gunalchéesh.

RLC community service programs address immediate needs of refreshing and nourishing the body, mind and soul:

  • The RLC Food Panty nourishes the body by operating the largest food pantry in Juneau feeding over 200 individuals and families each week, by allowing patrons to select their own foods in an unique 100’ COVID-19-safe mobile food line (funded by a Rasmuson grant).
  • The RLC Warming Shelter refreshes the body by operating the City and Borough of Juneau’s Cold Weather Emergency Shelter – AKA, the RLC Warming Shelter.  It is a low barrier shelter for adults (regardless of sobriety or prior behavior) providing a safe place to sleep and a hot, freshly prepared, nutritious dinner and breakfast, when nighttime temperatures are below freezing.
  • Juneau Live! Studio nnourishes the mind by supporting individuals and families who are suffering from seclusion and isolation, and its immediate consequences. Juneau Live! Studio connects this marginalized population and the entire Juneau Community though live-entertainment, cultural, educational and informational, community-access programming broadcast live from its multi-camera television studio on its Juneau Live! YouTube channel and KINY radio station.
  • RLC Worship Services nourishes the soul through regular Sunday worship services at 9:30 am in-person and live broadcast (or viewed later) on our Juneau Live! YouTube channel, as well as special worship services. The church also broadcasts an abridged version of its prior week’s worship service on local radio station KINY on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am.

RLC believes these community service programs embody its mission to promote spiritual growth in Christ and service to all people.

Guest Service Guidelines

Resurrection Lutheran Church success in operating these community service programs results partly from following our Guest Service Guidelines in all our Community Service Programs.  These guidelines are derived from the Disney Institute

Guests in the warming shelter are:

  • our patrons
  • our donors, visitors and volunteers

How we treat our Guests:

  • Have common courtesy. Seriously.
  • Be courteous and respectful to Guests of all stature and ages.
  • Go above and beyond to exceed Guest’s expectations.
  • Provide immediate service recovery. Guest satisfaction is a top priority.
  • Make it worth our Guest’s time to be here.
  • Seek out Guest contact. Be happy – make eye contact and smile!
  • Greet and welcome every Guest.  Spread the spirit of hospitality.  It’s contagious!
  • Project a positive image and energy.  Exhibit appropriate body language.
  • Thank every Guest.
  • Lift up Guests in prayer or contemplation.
  • Develop and nurture our public image and community relationships.

 

RLC Warming Shelter Code of Conduct

RLC Warming Shelter in the News

Read KTOO story – Resurrection Lutheran Church finishes first winter as Juneau’s cold weather shelter, by

Read CBJ’s Press Release – Planning for cold weather emergency shelter is ongoing

Read the article in the Juneau Empire by Michael S. Lockett 

Read the KTOO story – Amid search for a space for this year’s cold weather shelter, one Juneau church offers to help

Read the Juneau Empire Article Living and Growing: Seeking justice for people experiencing homelessness By RLC Congregation Member Laura Rorem