County extends homeless shelter days through March

FILE PHOTO Bridge to Home Shelter donations come from families, churches, scouts and businesses. Helping set up the sleeping quarters with blankets and towels are volunteers Haley (L) and Riley (C) Cabot and Resident Attendant Jayne Patafio (R). Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal

Homeless people across Los Angeles County will be able to stay sheltered for an extra month in the spring after the Board of Supervisors approved a motion at their meeting Tuesday.

Proposed by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis, winter shelters who opt to extend their timeline can now stay open through March 31 instead of closing at the end of February.

“In parts of our county, extreme weather conditions persist through early spring,” Barger said in a statement. “It is imperative that we do everything we can to make sure that unsheltered individuals are not exposed to these dangerous elements while the weather still poses a threat.”

The Homeless and Housing Program will be funding the extension for $709,000 throughout the county.

L.A. County approved the extension last year as well and served 3,451 total individuals through their Winter Shelter Program.

“The more time that is available is more time that a homeless individual has access to those services that he or she may need to get the rehabilitation they need to restore their life,” Barger’s Communication Deputy Tony Bell said.

Santa Clarita’s Bridge to Home shelter will “absolutely” opt to extend their shelter days, according to Peggy Edwards, Bridge to Home’s governing board president.

It means that 60 people don’t have to live outside in March,” Edwards said.  

The shelter, which opened for the season on Monday, typically stays open longer but has had to pay out of pocket in the past. The nonprofit also opens early each year and pays for that themselves.

This extra funding from the county allows Bridge to Home to use their funding elsewhere, such as client services.

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