Karluk Manor Now Moving in Tenants
The Karluk Manor is now open for tenants. The controversial housing project for the chronically homeless who have struggled with alcohol problems had its first tenants move in Thursday.
The concept behind Karluk Manor is that you can’t help people with alcohol addictions until they have housing first.
Staff say it’s a way to get them off the streets and into a safe place, while neighboring businesses say they’re not sure the approach will work.
John has been homeless and living in tents for the past ten years. He didn’t want his face shown on camera, but says having a place to stay at the Karluk Manor will be life-changing. “It’s a safe place to stay, and now it seems I’ve got a leg up and can really concentrate on getting a job – I’ll have a phone; I’ll have an address.” John is one of 20 people who moved in on Thursday.
The Karluk Manor has 46 efficiency roomsw, with a bed, TV, phone and bathroom. Here, unlike most homeless housing, residents will still be allowed to drink – and aren’t required to get any sort of treatment. But the housing director says the most important aspect is that they’re off the streets.
“Often homelessness is a symptom of other problems: traumatic histories, all sorts of difficulties in childhood,” said Melinda Freemon. “So for me to be able to provide this housing with our partners in the community, it is so exciting I can hardly describe it.”
Neighboring businesses don’t share the excitement. Connie Suchon, of Far North Supply, says she hopes the program succeeds, but has her doubts.
“Alcohol has been a way of life for many, many years, and unless we encourage them to change their behavior, giving them a comfortable place to do it in isn’t going to help them at all,” Suchon said.
John disagrees, saying a roof over his head is the first step in the right direction. “You got to give us a chance – you can’t just read a book by its cover. Alcoholics make mistakes. But this makes you feel better about yourself and encourages a person like me to go out and look for work and whatnot.”
The rest of the Karluk tenants will move in in the next few days. All tenants will have to follow certain rules at the Karluk Manor – drinking is permitted in rooms but not common areas; no fighting; no illegal activity; and only ten visitors will be allowed on the property at one time.