Bridge to Home closes with plans for program in May, year-round shelter

Bridge to Home File Art

Bridge To Home, Santa Clarita’s homeless shelter, closed for the season Saturday, but clients have some resources they can turn to while waiting for the shelter’s reopening in November, officials said.

The shelter will still provide lunches during the day, and is open for people to come for rapid rehousing resources and connections with partner agencies, said Chris Najarro, BTH director of programs.

“We are focused on continuing our work with the resources we have available with our year round case management and trying to secure permanent housing for the clients we work with,” Najarro said. “We know this isn’t a long-term solution, but we do what we can under the circumstances.”

The shelter will continue to provide supportive services and TAP cards for transportation, also, she said.

Bridge to Home is a client care center that provides year-round case management. It can connect people in need with the coordinated entry system, the system throughout Los Angeles County that connects people with housing resources, officials said. Any existing clients with the shelter are eligible for help with The Bridge.

As of a month ago, there will now also be case management in collaboration with the Department of Health Services, according to Silvia Gutierrez, the center’s director.

The program will help people with serious mental illness, substance abuse or who are in the jail system, she said.

Starting May 1, the shelter will also reopen from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the program, “Feeding It Forward.” The program is in partnership with the Santa Clarita faith community, and will be housed by the shelter on Newhall Avenue from Tuesday through Friday, and then by Real Life Church’s Savia partnership on Mondays.

“We provide a hot meal and case-management services,” Gutierrez said. “We also have activities that go on like yoga and resume-building. We also have showers available for people.”

The program will run from May until October, when the shelter will close again, temporarily, so it can prepare to re-open officially for the winter season in November.

Bridge to Home is also hosts a monthly consortium of providers to meet and share resources. Participants include the Henry Mayo hospital, the school district, the Department of Public Social Services, Real life Church, the Child & Family Center’s Domestic Violence Program, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and the local churches. This way, the shelter can locate clients in need through the consortium, Gutierrez said.

Plans to open a year-round shelter are still in the works.

“For the last two years, we’ve been working on making strides to open a year-round shelter and made a lot of progress with the city giving us the land and supporting our efforts of providing year-round shelter services,” Gutierrez said. “This summer, we’re going to launch our capital campaign to create the infrastructure of having a permanent facility.”

The board has currently drawn up renderings for renovations and building the structure on the current site. The timeline for transitioning Bridge to Home into a year-round shelter is still in the works.

“We foresee doing it in phases, because we don’t want to disrupt what we’re already doing,” Gutierrez said. “But we really have to strategize how we do that.”

The board will host a retreat in June to talk about plans, but the capital campaign does not have a start date currently.

“We definitely still need the community support to partner with us in this endeavor to create year-round comprehensive services,” Gutierrez said.


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