Winter homeless shelter extends another two weeks

Carolyn Odien, left, and Sheila Wyeth prepare clothes made available for the homeless to pick up at Bridge to Home’s winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita last Christmas Eve. Photo by Nikolas Samuels

Visitors to Bridge to Home’s winter shelter will be able to extend their stay a little longer, as the organization will allow homeless people to stay through March 30.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, one of the entities that funds Bridge to Home, requested that Los Angeles County provide homeless shelters with extra funding to remain open an additional two weeks because of the severe weather conditions this past winter.

“We were happy to extend it beyond our typical two week extension that we run on our own and go to the end of March,” Bridge to Home Director of Operations DiNesha Jackson said.

Prior to the extension, Bridge to Home’s contract called the shelter to close on Feb. 28, but the shelter typically stays open an additional two weeks after that and was planning to close on March 15.

This past season, the organization housed about 170 people in their shelter from November to March, sheltering up to 60 people a night.

“I feel that if we could house more than 60 people an evening, we would have more than 60 people an evening,” Jackson said. “We were really excited to operate the winter shelter season this year in Santa Clarita and we look forward to growing and making it better for next year.”

As visitors exit the shelter at the end of the season, Bridge to Home continues to work with them as clients to find them housing solutions. Often, it is a matter of a bus ticket to reunite people with their families, but could also entail connecting people with shared housing.

“We try to connect people to whatever avenue works for them,” she said. “Our goal is for people to exit with a place to go after they leave the shelters.”

The organization’s client service center also offers case management to help individuals find housing any time throughout the year.

“Our goal is to connect people to as many housing opportunities as possible,” Jackson said.

During the off season, Bridge to Home will run their Feeding it Forward program, where they feed homeless people full dinners each night and send them off with a sack lunch for the next day.

Because of a donation from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Bridge to Home will now also offer showers to those who utilize the food program starting May 2.

Bridge to Home’s winter shelter will open per usual on the Monday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 20 this year.

The winter shelter is located at 23031 Drayton St. and Bridge to Home’s main office is located at 23752 Newhall Ave.

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