Juneau Planning Commission Approves Permit for Tlingit & Haida’s Reentry Transitional Housing Project
JUNEAU, AK—The City and Borough of Juneau’s (CBJ) Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s (Tlingit & Haida) application for a conditional use permit to develop a reentry transitional housing program, Yak’éiyi Kustí Yinaadei Hít, in the Waterfront Commercial (WC) zoning district (1255 W. 9th Street) in Juneau, Alaska.
The conditional use permit was approved under the Planning Commission’s consent agenda along with Tlingit & Haida’s parking waiver request to reduce the required parking for the transitional housing project.
CBJ City Planner Laurel Bruggeman was assigned to review Tlingit & Haida’s application for consistency with land use codes and applicable plans and issue a report to the commission. Her findings identified the transitional housing project met the intent of the WC zoning district and requirements in CBJ’s Table of Permittable Uses, Note N.
“Over the course of several months, Tlingit & Haida’s Public Safety department has worked diligently to engage the community and meet with neighboring businesses and homeowners on the transitional housing project,” said President Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson. “There has been an overwhelming level of support from the community for this project and the vision of giving our citizens the support they need to successfully reintegrate and become the best version of themselves.”
Yak’éiyi Kustí Yinaadei Hít means “going towards the good life house” in Tlingit and will provide sober and supportive housing to men released from incarceration and transitioning back into society. Tlingit & Haida has been working very closely with community partners to develop the framework for the reentry housing program which will be modeled after the Delancey Street project, a nationally-recognized and vetted model of peer support in the San Francisco area that uses employment, training and housing to produce an estimated 75-90% reentry success rate.
Yak’éiyi Kustí Yinaadei Hít will provide 16 sober-living beds in 8 units with a full-time manager on site and deliver comprehensive and culturally responsive services for participants with direct channels to workforce development, training, and supportive employment.
“We want this program to empower our returning citizens to ‘go towards the good life’ by removing barriers and providing alternatives to the current situation awaiting many when they are released from incarceration,” said Tlingit & Haida’s Second Chance Coordinator Talia Eames who has overseen the development of the transitional housing program. “Working closely with our other departments will allow us to provide programming, such as training and employment through social enterprises, while respecting our tribal values and restoring cultural identities to those that may have been lost in the justice system. The access to the beachfront and water will be ideal for this cultural programming.”
With the conditional use permit approved, Tlingit & Haida will now turn its focus toward securing funding, building partnerships and staffing for Yak’éiyi Kustí Yinaadei Hít. The transitional housing program is expected be in operation by the summer of 2019.
Second Chance Program Coordinator Talia Eames with City Planner Laurel Bruggemann.
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The Alaska Marine Lifeline
The current conversation Alaskans are having was spurred by Governor Mike Dunleavy’s initial budget proposal for 2020, which would cut funding to the AMHS by 75 percent and essentially end most operations by October.