Juneau residents can now access a range of social services in one building.
The Teal Street Center, located in the Mendenhall Valley near the airport, has been in the works for years. Construction began in 2021, and tenants moved in this spring.
At a presentation hosted by the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, United Human Services Executive Director Joan O’Keefe said the goal is to make services more accessible to the people who need them.
“Nonprofits that are in the building now were scattered all over town,” she said. “It was a barrier for folks who needed multiple services.”
United Human Services owns the building. They rent office space to Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Alaska Legal Services, AWARE, Disability Law Center of Alaska, Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
O’Keefe said having all of them in one building is helping providers refer clients to each other more efficiently. If Southeast Alaska Independent Living staff want to refer someone to Alaska Legal Services, O’Keefe said, it’s as easy as walking down to the second floor.
It’s also helping providers financially. Rent is below market rate for the nonprofit tenants. The tenants share common spaces like reception areas, conference rooms and bathrooms. They also share costs for things like janitorial services and snow removal.
“They can worry about providing services and fulfilling their mission versus having higher overhead,” O’Keefe said.
The Teal Street Center sits between the Glory Hall, an emergency shelter and soup kitchen, and Smith Hall, a subsidized apartment building for seniors. St. Vincent de Paul has housing units on the other side of Smith Hall. SEARHC’s mobile clinic van stops by several times a week to provide medical and behavioral health services.
Dave Ringle, executive director of Juneau’s St. Vincent de Paul chapter, said the center is benefiting organizations outside the building, too. He said St. Vincent de Paul’s clients often need support from groups like the Disability Law Center.
“It’s a lot easier to walk across the street than it is to drive across town, and it saves our agency quite a bit,” Ringle said.
Funding for the $10.3 million project came from a mix of federal funding, city funding, grants and private donations. Sara Chapell manages fundraising for the center, and she said they have about $100,000 left to raise. That will pay for finishing touches like landscaping and signage.
“We’re thankfully approaching the finish line,” Chapell said.
Chapell said the center plans to have a grand opening in spring. In the meantime, offices are open and ready to help meet clients’ needs.
And as of this week, clients can take a city bus there. Capital Transit resumed service to the Teal Street Center on Monday.