Story last updated at 9/11/2013 - 5:46 pm
Recently, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) announced that they would be closing the Front Street Clinic (FSC) for the homeless in Juneau. The closure was slated for Oct. 1, 2013. Thanks to the efforts of several State, City and local agencies and dedicated individuals, the clinic will now stay open till the end of April 2014.
Several meetings later and within the last few days, over $100,000 has been raised for the Front Street Clinic thanks to such varied sources as private local foundations and emergency room physicians. The Juneau Community Foundation is launching a campaign to raise the remaining emergency funds needed. In addition, the support of our State Representatives, particularly Rep. Beth Kertula, Rep. Cathy Munoz, City Borough of Juneau Officials, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, The Glory Hole Street Shelter and SEARHC have been overwhelming.
The Front Street Clinic is absolutely crucial to Juneau's continuum of care. The community of Juneau realizes the importance of FSC because it provides one of the most important pieces of the social safety net, the ability of those uninsured and experiencing homelessness to receive primary health care. The truly hard work for the creation of the sustainable Front Street Clinic begins now. Until the end of April, SEARHC will continue to provide services, but after then, it is hoped the groups involved in the extended opening of FSC will have a plan in place. At that point, SEARHC will no longer be able to continue services at FSC.
While it appears that keeping Front Street's doors open for the next seven months is a real possibility, this is only the beginning. In the meantime, everyone will continue to meet and work for a sustainable solution.