In light of Bridge to Home’s county grant cancellation, Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth is stepping forward with a plan he hopes will help fill the funding gap for the Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless shelter.
“I intend to ask the City Council to provide some bridge funding for Bridge to Home to help keep the shelter in operation while they follow up with the next grant,” he said Thursday.
Smyth, who is also the chair of the Community Task Force on Homelessness board, said he will ask for a one-time allocation given the circumstance and his belief that “because this is taxpayer dollars, we want (funds) to be used appropriately.”
Also on Thursday, Tony Bell, spokesman for county Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office, said they are working with the city of Santa Clarita for a resolution by next week.
“Our office is fully committed to ensuring that Bridge to Home has the resources to continue operations beyond the winter shelter period and filling the funding gap that resulted from Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s funding allocation process,” said Bell.
The emergency shelter applied for a grant of nearly $1 million from LAHSA but was turned down due to insufficient availability of funds, according to LAHSA officials late last week.
Bridge to Home’s goal of operating year-round appears unlikely for now, but Executive Director Mike Foley said they are deep in the process of reapplying for the same grant amount, with a February deadline.
Even with approval, the Newhall-based nonprofit would be left with a funding gap from when its winter shelter season ends through July, the anticipated date when funds would be available.
Besides looking to support its goal of operating full-time, funds also benefit a variety of services including meals and case management.
After learning about the grant cancellation, Foley said they have managed to raise around $47,000 but the organization is still short of its more than $150,000 needed to continue offering the services and resources through July 1.
“Every dollar matters right now,” he said. “It’s the end of the year, and we will have a big announcement in January as to how we will move forward.”
Smyth said he would like to see city staff connect with Bridge to Home to learn what operating costs look like in order to formulate an appropriate funding amount.
“I think it’s frustrating to have the county pull the rug out on this grant process that people have been working so hard on,” said Smyth. “I hope they are true to their word that there will be an additional grant process. I think it’s appropriate for the city to step in.”
Smyth said his proposal for a motion to request funds will take place at the next council meeting on Jan. 8, followed by a City Council vote at the Jan. 22 meeting if approved.