City council to vote on homeless shelter land purchase

Shelter Manager Olga Ruiz shows the inside of the Bridge to Home homeless shelter in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Bridge to Home may expand its Drayton Street facility if the Santa Clarita City Council approves the acquisition of land adjacent to the existing shelter at its meeting Tuesday.

Pending a vote by the council, the city would purchase an acre for $603,522 by using money from the General Fund then transfer ownership to Bridge to Home. The cost includes the $511,000 sale price plus escrow, title, appraisal and due diligence associated with the transactions.

“Due to the need for the expansion of the winter shelter, the owner of the approximate one-acre property adjacent to the current shelter is willing to enter into an agreement to sell the property to the city,” city documents said.

The City Council approved the purchase and sale agreement in November, which led to the city doing an environmental site assessment on the property as part of its due diligence.

The vote would allow the shelter to take the next step toward being a year-round shelter and compete for Measure H funding. Voters countywide approved Measure H last March, generating $355 million annually for homeless shelters and programs.

“There is available funding through Measure H specific to shelter operations,” a city staff report said in the council’s agenda packet. “Transfer of ownership of the Drayton Street property from the city to Bridge to Home and the approval of a Temporary Use Permit to operate year-round would allow Bridge to Home to be eligible to receive the maximum amount of Measure H funding.”

The homeless shelter initially opened for winters on Golden Valley Road during the 2007-08 winter, but moved to its current location on Drayton Street three winters later. Bridge to Home operated the shelter beginning in 2011. A temporary use permit has allowed the shelter to operate from November to March each year.

In November, Bridge to Home officials said the shelter was at least a year away from being open year-round. One of the construction projects involved the installation of a sewer system for running water and on-site bathrooms. The cost of that project was expected to top $150,000 according to Peggy Edwards, Bridge to Home’s governing board president. The nonprofit could use $30,000 from a capital account to partially fund the project or use Measure H funds and community fundraising.

Shelter officials also seek to build a permanent facility for case management and therapy, though that project will depend on how quickly Bridge to Home can raise funds or acquire Measure H money.

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