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Teen group raises funds, resources for homelessness nonprofits

Matthew Medina, center, enjoys dinner at the Bridge to Home shelter on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal.

For local nonprofit Family Promise to be able act on its mission to house families, the group needs the funding to do so.

Much of what Family Promise does requires funding for emergency housing to allow families three nights in a motel before being transferred to a shelter or permanent housing.

“We don’t just say no, we do everything we can to help them find something else,” Family Promise Board President Laurie Ender said.

The City of Santa Clarita gave the organization a $5,000 community service grant for their emergency shelter program a few years ago, which they gratefully accepted and used, according to Ender.

“The money went a long way, it was wonderful,” Ender said.

Additionally, Valencia United Methodist Church gave the group $2,000 for the program around the same time. That cumulative $7,000 went toward housing 25 families in motels over the course of two years.

But now, Family Promise is in need of more funds since their grant ran out, and the city does not typically fund the same program twice.

SCV Urge, a group of Global Prep Academy students who seek to “improve the lives and living conditions” of homeless people in the valley, want to help.

The group has started a GoFundMe online campaign in an effort to raise $5,000 so Family Promise can continue their emergency program.

“It is a best-case scenario when other community groups say, ‘let us help you,’” Ender said. “We are thrilled this group chose to help us.”

Macy Thompson, a junior at Hart High School, serves as one of three presidents for SCV Urge. She and her copresidents wanted to help combat homelessness in tangible ways and started the group in April during their spring break.

“We were all thinking how we could help the community,” Thompson said.

She knew there were homeless people locally having seen some occasionally outside of stores, but was shocked after hearing there were hundreds in the valley.

When Thompson heard that the Global Prep founder personally paid for a family to stay in a motel recently, his story made her want to continue this work.

“It just wasn’t sustainable and he knew there was this urgent need for people to have a place to stay,” Thompson said. “The money is being put into good use, it’s not a blank deposit.”

In hopes of later making a large-scale impact on homelessness, Thomson said she and the other SCV Urge members knew they had to start in the valley.

“It bothers me that people think it’s not a problem here,” she said. “We need to be fixing the problem locally before doing it globally.”

In addition, SCV Urge is collecting gently used clothing for “Clothed In Dignity” named after Proverbs 31:25, their own project to allow homeless people “shop” for clothing at no cost. The group is also providing meals to Bridge to Home each week during their Feeding It Forward program, which feeds dinner to homeless and low income individuals during the summer.

To get updates on the work SCV Urge is doing, follow them on Twitter @scv_urge.

Though Family Promise is not set to receive another grant for emergency services specifically, the city’s 2017-18 action plan says they are eligible to get a Community Development Block Grant for clinical case management. Exact funding is dependent on how much the city receives from the U.S. Department of Urban Development.

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On Twitter as @ginaender


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