SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Working Together

By Evelyn Erbele, Susan Peters, Jerri Taylor-Elkins, Agnes Moran, Jay Hochberg, Tasha-Marie Olinger & Charlotte White


September 12, 2016
Monday PM

Comments were made from the podium at the City Council meeting of September 1, 2016 that implied that the various organizations that address hunger and homelessness in our community are siloed and do not interact with one another. In actuality, we believe these organizations do work well together. What to an outside observer may appear, as siloing is actually the groups being very conscientious of the limited resources available in our community. Consequently, these groups work hard to complement one another and to not duplicate services.

There is a lot of coordination that takes place between groups that someone looking in from the outside does not see or may misinterpret as siloing . For example, the Day Shelter (FCHS) is open 7 days a week. We serve breakfast daily and provide a brown bag lunch on Saturday because no other organization serves this meal. FCHS closes for lunch during the week because the Salvation Army serves lunch and we close for the day before the PATH shelter opens for the evening.

The various groups addressing hunger and homelessness not only work closely together, they share resources. For example, when one local organization receives their weekly donation of excess food from the local grocery stores, they take what they can use and then they contact FCHS. FCHS will take what they can use and the balance is distributed to another group for its use. We are appreciative of the very generous support provided to us by all levels of the community and work to leverage that support across multiple organizations.

We applaud the City Council s efforts to try and address the very complex issues of homelessness and public inebriation. They are not always one and the same, but in fact can be very distinct and separate states of being.

As a first step in addressing these issues, we would strongly urge the City Council to follow Council member Zenge s advice and contact the groups working directly with these issues.

Thank you,

The Board of Directors for First City Homeless Services
Evelyn Erbele
Susan Peters
Jerri Taylor-Elkins
Agnes Moran
Jay Hochberg
Tasha-Marie Olinger
Charlotte White
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received September 10, 2016 - Published September 12, 2016

About: "First City Homeless -The Day Shelter
Our mission is to offer the homeless access to a safe, nonjudgmental shelter and referrals to local resources"


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