Bridge to Home relies on community support to build year-round shelterSebastian Cazares September 6, 2018 0 COMMENTS
Bridge to Home, Santa Clarita’s main homeless services provider, continues to rely on local support to sustain its mission of assisting Santa Clarita’s homeless population.
Santa Clarita’s population includes a minimum of 331 homeless individuals, according to the most recent Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
The City of Santa Clarita recently purchased and donated land adjacent to the existing shelter to Bridge to Home for the construction of a new year-round shelter, according to city documents. “We have all the confidence in them that they’ll continue that support, whether it be monetarily or with their skills with assistance like building and development,” Bridge to Home Director of Programs Chris Najarro said.
While the city has provided these contributions to the shelter, Bridge to Home also depends on community support to continue servicing the local homeless population.
City Council candidates Jason Gibbs, Brett Haddock and Logan Smith recently volunteered together to make breakfast for Bridge to Home’s clients and to raise awareness for the organization’s needs.
Haddock has been a regular volunteer at Bridge to Home since 2015, according to his campaign website. “It really opens your eyes to the lives and experiences of our most vulnerable citizens in Santa Clarita,” Haddock said.
Serving breakfast to Bridge to Home’s clients was a more personal experience for Gibbs, who was previously homeless. “Having experienced homelessness myself, we often take for granted the everyday comforts others may go without, like a warm meal or a safe place to sleep at night,” Gibbs said.
“Volunteering at Bridge to Home is a way to see first hand how much work needs to be done to ensure our shelter has adequate infrastructure and resources,” Smith said. “From unhoused students to disabled veterans, every Santa Clarita resident deserves food, shelter and dignity.”
Donations and volunteers are especially needed as Bridge to Home prepares to open its winter shelter in November. “On our website, we have opportunities for donations like water, instant soup, undergarments, dried cereal and other items,” Najarro said. “There’s going to be a bigger demand for this with winter coming soon.”
Currently, the shelter only operates regularly from November to March and has emergency shelter hours during the summer. Bridge to Home’s shelter increased its winter shelter capacity to 60 beds in 2015, according to the organization’s website.
Although Bridge to Home now has land to build a year-round shelter and has funding from Los Angeles County’s Measure H initiative, the nonprofit still has to raise the remaining funds necessary to construct and operate the new facility.
This year, Bridge to Home’s annual Soup for the Soul fundraiser will be held on Saturday, October 13 at 6 p.m. in the Old Town Newhall Parking Structure, located on 9th Street between Main Street and Railroad Avenue. People can attend Soup for the Soul, sponsor the event or donate to Bridge to Home. Support is especially needed to make the planned year-round shelter a reality.
More information about Bridge to Home and Soup for the Soul can be found at http://www.btohome.org/
Sebastian Cazares is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and student at College of the Canyons. He was heavily involved in Speech, Model UN, Rotary Club and journalism during his high school years. Sebastian is deeply interested in local politics and excited to report on the issues that impact his community.