Bridge to Home preps for Winter Shelter opening

Eric Zimmerman, who normally works in the flooring department at Lowe's, helps install new flooring at the Bridge to Home winter shelter on Thursday. Lowe's donated time and materials to install new flooring, thermostat controls, and decor at the shelter. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Before the chill of winter sets in, volunteers are making preparations for the opening of Bridge to Home’s annual Winter Shelter next month.

Open each year from November to mid-March, the 60-bed Winter Shelter provides food, medical services and support services for those it aids.

“In general, it provides a safe place that provides three meals a day and support services, medical, mental health and case management services,” said DiNesha Jackson, Bridge to Home’s director of operations.  “It provides people with a place to come and receive all services to help end homelessness.”

This year, the shelter received facility upgrades and improvements thanks to a partnership with Lowe’s on the eastside of Santa Clarita.  The local store donated two full work days and supplies Wednesday and Thursday to assist in the shelter’s enhancements.

“It definitely was a needed improvement and they are providing resources as far as the product and labor that was needed,” Jackson said.  “This year what we are trying to do is provide more of a homey setting versus simply a cot to lie in.”

Upgrades included a fresh coat of paint, new blinds, an upgraded thermostat, new locks, new laminate flooring and décor items to give the space a welcoming feel.

In addition to the Winter Shelter, Bridge to Home acts as a year-round homeless services access center providing assessments, workshops, programs and services to help those in need and help reduce homelessness in the valley.

There is an increasing need for these services with homelessness on the rise in both Los Angeles County and Los Angeles County’s District 5, where Santa Clarita is located, according to a report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

In District 5, 5,360 people were reported as homeless in 2016—a 7 percent increase from the number one year ago.

With temperatures beginning to drop, Bridge to Home’s Winter Shelter will be a place for some of these individuals to seek solace from the cold and have access to supportive services.

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