Homeless housing project celebrated

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Local dignitaries celebrated a cooperative project to provide housing for 32 previously homeless individuals as an opening ceremony was held for the Forget Me Not Manor in Juneau today.

    Stephen Sorensen, Chairman of the Juneau Housing First Collaborative, praised the individuals involved as very dedicated.  He said the project will provide safe and decent housing to individuals in need.

    Juneau Mayor Ken Koelsch said society is judged on how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, "Today Juneau stands tall."

    Stacy Schubert of the Alaska Housing and Finance said the project provides safe quality housing for Alaskans and will help bring dignity to the new residents.

    Diane Kaplan of the Rasmuson Foundation said many citizens are living on the edge financially and homelessness can be a medical problem, or emergency away for many Americans.  "We have people here today that care deeply, came together, and had a clear vision to help other Alaskans."

    Carma Reed with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development said her agency just rode the wave of support for this project and was glad to help.  "We promote affordable housing, housing assistance and housing free from discrimination.  The people here today were very brave and Juneau is an amazing community.  This is what it takes to solve the problem of chronic homelessness."

    Mandy O'Neal Cole with the Juneau Coalition on housing and homelessness said the people involved were motivated by one thing, love for others.  "This was the right thing to do.  This project was all about love and making a place to live for friends."

    The Juneau Community Foundation provided $224,000 from the donations of 180 different local residents for this project.  They will also provide about $100,000 per year to subsidize operations at the facility.  The Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority provided the land for the project.  Alaska Marine Lines provided in kind freight for many of the building materials.

    Dr. Phil Campbell conducted a blessing ceremony for the complex. 

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