Santa Clarita Valley Homeless Officials ID Best Spot For Year-round Shelter
Santa Clarita Valley officials working to secure a permanent home for the local homeless population believe they’ve identified the best spot for a year-round shelter -- their current location on Drayton Street in Newhall.
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A shelter official said the transitioning the current spot to year-round status a ways to go, noting approvals had yet to be granted from Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County officials. Santa Clarita officials had not yet received the letter as of Monday.
“It’s far from a done deal,” said Tim Davis, executive director for Bridge to Home, which runs the shelter. “We’re four or five steps away, but we’re on that path.”
A letter sent Monday to city of Santa Clarita officials from Bridge to Home board President Hunt Braly stated that a task force to identify the most appropriate location for a future year-round shelter suggested the current Drayton Avenue spot, near Railroad Avenue.
Bridge to Home is name for the Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organization operating the only homeless shelter in the Santa Clarita Valley, which opened seasonally last year Nov. 25 until March 31.
When shelter officials signed their current three-year lease with the city of Santa Clarita in 2013, they said they would take steps toward finding a permanent home, Davis said.
Related article: Bridge To Home Talks Homeless Shelter Location, Fundraising Campaign
In determining the best location, Bridge to Home created the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter Task Force, identified seven locations and evaluated them using a matrix with more than a dozen criteria. Factors considered were the proximity to transportation services and other area resources for the homeless population.
The shelter has two seasons remaining on its current lease, which should allow for the planning, permissions and fundraising necessary for a permanent home, he added.
Related article: Santa Clarita Valley Homeless Shelter Seeks Support Through The Arts
Construction would need to be undertaken, which is part of the impetus behind the organization’s capital campaign with a $1 million goal, he said.
There are numerous details to be worked out whether the Drayton Street shelter ends up being the organization’s permanent home, Davis said.
In February of last year, the current lease was renewed by the city amid talk of putting a trash-sorting facility nearby.
“We’re good here for the next two years (at the Drayton Street location),” Davis said, although shelter officials and volunteers are working year-round to make a permanent homeless shelter a reality.
Bridge to Home officials also are working to let the homeless population know there are some services offered year-round.
While there were 224 individual names served last winter at the shelter, based on 16 years of experience, officials estimate they serve only a portion of the Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless population.
“We think we’re seeing, at best, 10 percent on a given night,” Davis said, acknowledging that, “I can’t scientifically prove that.”
The count is based on figures from local school districts, as well as other local and county resources, he said.
A monthly dental clinic is one of the services offered at the shelter while it’s temporarily closed for housing.
There’s also a counseling center available on Chestnut Street in Newhall, Davis said.
“It’s case management for anyone who comes in off the street, with city and county assistance,” he said. “We call it ‘homeless prevention’ -- sometimes, it’s a little extra money to keep my rent up to speed, sometimes it’s life skills training.”
More information about the services and fundraising efforts for Bridge to Home are available at btohome.com. (The top photo was taken by Santa Clarita Valley photographer and Bridge to Home board member Gary Choppe, as part of his fundraising effort for the shelter. Click here to see more pictures.)
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