Homeless shelter in Bethel continues construction despite stolen generator

A generator was stolen from a homeless shelter in Bethel that was used for construction, despite the setback the project continues on.
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 2:31 PM AKDT
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BETHEL, Alaska (KTUU) - The Bethel Winter House provides a warm place to sleep and hot meals for the homeless during Bethel’s cold winters.

The shelter currently operates from Oct. 1 to April 30.

“Guests can enter at 8 p.m., they get a warm meal, they get a chance to shower, use laundry facilities, and then lights out by 11 so everyone gets a bed roll and blanket, and they get a space on the floor,” executive director Jaela Milford said. “They’re no longer stuck in survival mode trying to live without a home. They have a place that is guaranteed and the facility and the staff will work with them to try to get them jobs.”

Alongside the Bethel Community Service Foundation, the Bethel Winter House is constructing a permanent housing complex that will house 24 people year-round.

On Monday, the generator being used for the construction of the new shelter was stolen. Despite the hardship, Milford said the project remains on schedule.

“Nothing was delayed or changed due to the unfortunate incident of the stolen generator, but the project still going,” Milford said.

Even with progress going as planned, the shelter has a fundraiser established to benefit the project and the shelter once it’s built.

“I think if people would like to get involved and hear the story of the generator, I’d focus them to Bethel Winter House itself and ask them to look forward, look closer at our mission and see if they would like to donate to that,” Milford said

Their goal for buying a new generator is $3,000 — so far they’ve raised about $700. The year-round shelter is scheduled to open at the beginning of next year.