As walls rapidly go up on the new Mendenhall Valley location of the Glory Hall, Sealaska’s board of directors sent a strong message of support for the initiative by committing $50,000 to the project at its December meeting.
The Glory Hall is Juneau’s emergency shelter and soup kitchen, providing three meals a day and shelter for those experiencing homelessness or crisis since 1981. The Glory Hall also provides transportation, social-service referrals, mental-health counseling, laundry, showers and more.
The original Glory Hall location is in downtown Juneau, on Franklin Street. The expansion was planned before the pandemic, but the pressures of serving Juneau residents experiencing homelessness in the midst of the pandemic have increased the project’s urgency and left project leaders determined to work through the winter to open the new location during the summer of 2021. The project broke ground in October and managers expect the roof will be on before the end of the year, allowing work on the interior of the building to continue through the coldest months of the winter.
Between the physical distancing requirements brought on by the pandemic and the increased need in the community due to pandemic-related job loss, the expansion has never been more needed.
“On behalf of the board and management team, I thank all of people who have dedicated their careers to protecting and feeding others,” said Sealaska board Chair Joe Nelson. “We especially need to thank the volunteers who have supported the Glory Hall all of these years.”
Sealaska donated $1.4 million to Southeast Alaska’s 19 federally recognized tribes and dozens of other nonprofits and social-service providers in Southeast, Anchorage and Washington state in an effort to assist its 23,000 shareholders during the pandemic.
Fundraising for the new, $4.3 million Glory Hall facility was kickstarted with a $2.3 million donation from the City and Borough of Juneau in early October. Other major supporters include Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
At the same October meeting, the Juneau Assembly approved an ordinance to add another $1.1 million in funding toward the creation of the Southeast Community Services Center, which is envisioned as a campus that will provide a full suite of services to Juneau residents in need.
“We could not be any more grateful to Sealaska for this generous contribution and for other consistent, valuable, and ongoing support,” said Mariya Lovishchuk, executive director of the Glory Hall. “We are honored that our contribution request was considered and awarded so quickly. Thank you to Sealaska for understanding the unique circumstances of this pandemic and the needs of our community.”