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Reentry & Recovery | Alaway Project | Project Overview | Commonly Asked Questions

Alaway Avenue Project - Commonly Asked Questions

We recognize there may be questions about this new program, so we have created this page for you. If your questions are not answered here, please contact reentry&recovery@ccthita-nsn.gov or Natasha McClanahan, Housing & Reentry Coordinator, at 907.723.5737.

The Tribe is applying for this program to be permitted as Transitional Housing. What does Transitional Housing mean? Is the area zoned for a transitional housing? Is this a halfway house?

 

According to CBJ 49.25.300, Transitional Housing is defined as “a residential use for people released from a correctional facility or similar facility. Residents may be on probation and parole. Although approval by the Department of Corrections (DOC) may be necessary for a resident to reside in transitional housing, unlike a correctional facility, a resident is not ordered to live in transitional housing. An owner or manager must live on site.”

The existing structure located at 6205 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska is the chosen site for this project and is in a commercial zone, which does allow Transitional Housing with CBJ Planning Commission approval. Tlingit & Haida is requesting the proper permitting to renovate the existing building and operate as Transitional Housing.

The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will house up to 16 residents who are transitioning from incarceration and committed to recovery from addiction. The site will be supervised by a resident manager who is in long-term recovery and able to provide guidance and mentorship to the residents. Office space will be available on-site for the department manager, a full-time licensed social worker, the program coordinator, administrative staff and space for probation and parole officers to check in with the residents.

 

This housing program is not a halfway house. Citizens will not be mandated to the program, rather, residents will be chosen through a competitive application process. Interested participants will work with program staff and/or their institutional probation officer to apply. It is important to recognize that this is sober, supportive housing for individuals seeking training, resources and employment assistance upon their transition into the community. The program will provide a healthy foundation built on culturally responsive services for participants, as well as direct channels to resources necessary for successful reentry.

 

Can you describe your site selection process? Isn’t there a better location?

 

Tlingit & Haida searched diligently to find a property that was a good fit for our requirements. In 2018 a location was identified and in February of 2019 Tlingit & Haida received approval for a conditional use permit for transitional housing to be located at the Harbor Inn in downtown Juneau. Due to management changes the project had to be relocated. The Reentry & Recovery Department was then offered to purchase the property located at 6205 Glacier Highway. Tlingit & Haida plans to repurpose and improve the existing structure, enhancing it with a combination of traditional tribal design elements and an updated aesthetic.

The chosen site meets all the needs and requirements of the program. This property is largely surrounded by greenbelt with major roads between any neighborhoods apart from the Juneau Police Department (JPD), who has voiced their support for the project. We recognize the added element of supervision with the proximity of JPD and feel fortunate to have opportunities for our residents to rebuild relationships with our law enforcement officers.

 

 

Are these residents still on parole or probation while living in transitional housing? Wouldn’t they be better suited to be in a Halfway House or more appropriate facility? Where do the program referrals come from?

 

Residents of the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project may be on probation and/or parole. A Halfway House is considered a correctional facility and which this transitional housing is not. According to CBJ 49.80.120 the definition of Correctional facility “means a facility providing for the imprisonment or physical confinement of persons under guard or 24-hours physical supervision such as a prison, jail, detention center, halfway house, and similar facilities.” Juneau’s correctional facilities are Lemon Creek Correctional Center and the Gastineau Human Services Community Residential Center (Halfway House).

 

While a person on probation or parole has not completed all the terms of their sentence, a person is not “serving a sentence” at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project, Glory Hall, the house of their friends, the house of their parents, or anywhere else he may be living. A person released on probation or parole, can reside in any housing that is approved by the Department of Corrections through their probation or parole officer. If a resident violates the conditions of his probation or parole, he may have to return to prison to “serve his sentence.”

 

Referrals for this program will be identified during prison in-reach and will need the recommendation of a DOC officer to ensure that the individual is a good fit with the intent to successfully reenter society. Incarcerated individuals releasing from the institution will have priority followed by other returning citizens experiencing homelessness in the community.

 

The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will provide the supportive environment to increase self-sufficiency and foster healthy relationships between residents to create a cohort of peer support. We have designed a program where each resident supports one another while also learning daily living and employment skills. These relationships will be fostered by house meals, house meetings and other relationship-building activities. This aspect of the program has so much potential as the size of the housing is small enough that a cohort can be built into a “family” and residents will learn to be accountable to each other and the community. While there is certainly a place and purpose for the larger halfway house model, the transitional housing model broadens the options for rehabilitative steps for transitioning individuals. This option is individualized, therapeutic and works directly with the probation officer instead of contracted case managers working with the probation office.

Does Tlingit & Haida have experience starting and operating a transitional facility for ex-offenders?

 

Tlingit & Haida’s Reentry & Recovery department manager was a member of the House Juneau board, a transitional housing program for women coming out of incarceration that has offered a wealth of resources and assistance to its staff and board members in pursuing reentry projects. The department manager has also been an active partner of Haven House for the past 5 years and has assisted in problem solving the unique situations in the home that have occurred over the years. In addition, the current staff members have a combined 30+ years of experience in working with those released from incarceration. The project also has the support of many community service agencies including the Juneau Reentry Coalition, the Juneau Coalition on Housing and Homelessness and Juneau Police Department. Staff have also attended hands-on reentry housing replication training, facilitated by the Delancey Street Foundation. This foundation is considered the country's leading residential organization for substance abusers, the formerly incarcerated, homeless individuals and others who have hit bottom. This model of social entrepreneurship, education, rehabilitation and change has been in existence for over 40 years. More information on this model can be found at www.delanceystreetfoundation.org.

 

We are committed to providing our staff with the training and resources that are recommended by the operators of similar homes. Staff will remain current on best practices in reentry housing and will seek continuing education and training as it is available.

 

What is the application process like for men wanting to live at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project? Are there any backgrounds, criminal offenses or situations that could disqualify a man from applying?

 

Each individual application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The participants must complete an extensive application process which will require a fully completed application, written essay, housing interview and will consider the individual’s treatment needs and availability. The process will also require recommendations by their Institutional Probation Officer (IPO) or another DOC staff member familiar with their behavior during their incarceration.

 

They must also have no High or Moderate infractions in the six (6) months prior to their housing placement. The applications will be carefully reviewed by their Parole/Probation Officer. A high priority of the review process will be to protect the potential success of the participants who are already residing at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project, ensuring each new resident is a good fit and also committed to the success of their peers.

 

How will the housing be supervised and run? How will this arrangement assist in rehabilitation?

 

The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will employ a resident manager who lives on site and provides an evening presence with daily supervision being provided by program staff. Residents of the housing do not require 24-hour supervision but with staff on site they will be supervised during both the days and evenings. Residents will have the ability to “check in” as needed with their case manager, also on site. The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will use the intake process as a new resident moves in as an opportunity to ensure that each resident fully understands the house rules. The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing project staff and the residents themselves will oversee adherence to house rules and coordinate shared household chores and other communal activities during weekly house meetings. Staff will also share information with probation/parole officers. The residents will sign release forms allowing probation/parole officers to share information with the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project and visa-versa, as a condition of their application.

 

Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project staff will provide referrals to both internal and external resources. Staff, along with future volunteers and mentors, will serve as healthy role models for residents as they assist the resident in navigating the difficult transition back into Juneau. Staff and resident circle discussions will focus on accountability, resilience, restorative justice, and how to deal with life’s daily difficulties (coping skills). This will result in a supportive and safe community of peers, staff, and mentors at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project that will support the men in making changes to help them successfully integrate back into the community.

What are the rules, regulations and/or protocols for residents?

 

Tlingit & Haida has carefully reviewed the policies and house rules developed by Haven House Juneau and have modeled policies from their successful policies with changes that account for the differences in programming. Due to the newness of the location and additional programming opportunities offered by the generous space, these policies are currently under review, but draft policies will be available soon.

 

All residents will have curfews, random drug tests and breathalyzers, as well as assigned chores, responsibilities and very little “idle time.” Our goal is to promote rehabilitation and increase public safety. Out policies and protocols will ensure these goals are met.

 

 

Will there be a sign out/in form? Will there be a curfew in place? How long is a resident allowed to be absent from the house?

 

The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will have an automated check-in/check-out system using technology including key fobs and cameras. There will be a 10:00 p.m. curfew. Each resident is required to obtain pre-approval from staff and their probation/parole officer if he will be away from the home for more than 24 hours.

 

What is the expected length of stay for residents? How do you determine when a resident is appropriate for release?

 

Tlingit & Haida will offer program residents six months minimum and up to two years at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project. Those wishing to extend their stay beyond the two years will have their request reviewed on a case by case basis. The minimum residency requirements is to ensure that the resident has the time to build a secure foundation for return to the community.

 

When talking to a resident about whether to move out of the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project, staff will primarily discuss whether he has other housing and whether that housing is safe and affordable, is conducive to recovery from addiction, and is likely to contribute to meeting identified goals. These goals can include maintaining employment, new training opportunities, positive pro-social interactions and meeting conditions of release as identified by their probation or parole officer.

 

 

What is the expectation for alcohol use? Will there be regular testing for illegal drug use? If a resident does not follow expectations and/or tests positive for an illegal substance, what is the consequence?

 

A resident who violates the rule against alcohol or drugs (except, of course, for prescribed prescription drugs, which will be monitored) on the facility premises will be referred to their probation/parole officer for follow-up. The housing program has a zero-tolerance stance on drugs and alcohol.

 

In addition to the prohibition on the possession of alcohol or drugs on the premises, the house rules will establish the conditions for a daily curfew of 10:00 pm (with exceptions for work schedules); random inspections of rooms; shared household chores; and compliance with conditions of release from the DOC. Tlingit & Haida will employ a resident manager who will reside in the facility every night. In times of absence, there will be an alternate staff member to supervise between the hours of 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.

 

As noted, the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will not allow any alcohol or drug use on the premises by any resident, staff, or volunteer. Residents will be subject to testing by probation/parole officers, housing staff or any other authority as allowed by Alaska law, as part of their conditions of release. Residents will also be subject to “breathalyzer” checks at curfew and at random. If a staff member suspects a resident has been using drugs or alcohol, the staff member will either test in-house or refer the resident to the Juneau Probation Office for testing. The program will work directly with an assigned probation officer. This partnership will assist in expedited coordination, urinalysis testing, immediate problem-solving, etc.

Will the residents have vehicles? If so, where will they park?

 

It is often a condition of release for residents that they must receive approval from their probation officer to drive or have a vehicle on-site. Residents may be allowed to drive or park their personal vehicles on site if the occasional resident has the means to obtain and maintain a vehicle. We do not anticipate this to happen often. There will be public transportation available along with a program van that will be driven by staff members.

What is your policy on residents’ visitors (i.e. who, how long, when, hours, background checks, etc.)? What protocols are in place for uninvited/unwanted visitors?

Only legal and approved family members may visit participants. Legal family members include spouses, children or verified and long-established partners. Individuals may also not have victim contact; staff will have this information to prevent unlawful contact. Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance and approved by staff. The staff will conduct a background check on all potential visitors by checking Court View, the online record system of the Alaska Court System, and the State of Alaska Sex Offender Registry. The program may conduct further investigation. Visiting will occur in the family room and visitors must leave by 9:00 pm.

Further, the conditions of release for most of our residents will prohibit them from associating with those with felonies, unless at an approved meeting or an approved living situation, such as living at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing program. Staff will ensure that all residents understand the visitor policy. If an unwanted visitor comes by, staff will ask them to leave. If they do not leave, the police will be called.

 

What is the safety plan if a resident or visitor becomes violent or is a danger to other residents or to the neighborhood?

 

The history of transitional housing projects is that the police are hardly, if ever, called. For example, the police have never been called to Haven House in Juneau in the 5+ years it has been in operation. The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will have a number posted which will be answered 24/7 if a neighbor wants to report a problem. If Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project staff, residents or neighbors encounter a violent or threatening situation, they are directed to call the police.

How can you assure the safety of neighborhood families, children, and property?

 

The Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project will offer housing to men who are eligible to be released to any housing that is approved by the Department of Corrections or their probation/parole officer. This includes renting a room, apartment or property in any neighborhood. We are housing those that would otherwise be largely unsupervised, adding an additional level of safety and oversite.

 

Because of the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project structured supervision, sobriety requirements, house rules, peer accountability, information sharing with probation/parole officers, and other support systems, we believe neighborhoods will be much safer than the alternative of released prisoners living in Juneau without these supports.

 

There will also be phone numbers publicly shared that will be answered 24 hours a day. There will be little contact with families and children in surrounding areas given the road and greenbelt surrounding the property, although we recognize that many of our residents have children and families, and they may occasionally be present on our property as we work towards family reunification.

 

Sex offenders will not be permitted to live at the Alaway Avenue Transitional Housing Project.

For more information, please contact Reentry & Recovery:

Toll Free: 1.800.344.1432 ext. 7366 | Direct: 907.463.7366 | Fax: 888.520.6722

Email: reentry&recovery@ccthita-nsn.gov

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