Barger helps Bridge to Home extend operations

Bridge to Home Shelter opens ticket sales for Soup for the Soul, the premier fundraiser for the shelter will take place on Oct. 13. Signal File Photo.

Despite the winter season coming to an end, Bridge to Home officials said they are extending operations into the summertime following gap funding provided by County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

The Newhall-based organization, which offers shelter and other support services for individuals facing homelessness, usually closes the Santa Clarita Valley’s only emergency shelter at the end of March but will remain open through July as they await funds for year-round operations.

“Typically, we close on March 31 and 60 people are put back out on the streets in years past,” said Michael Foley, executive director of Bridge to Home. “With funding from Supervisor Barger, we will be able to stay open until July 31.”

In December, Barger, whose jurisdiction includes the SCV, pledged to provide county gap funding of $200,000 to help the organization offer year-round homeless shelter services. This came after the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a joint powers authority between the county and city of L.A. that partially funds agencies like Bridge to Home, canceled a grant process that would have awarded the organization with more than $900,000 to help them transition from an emergency to a year-round shelter.

“Supervisor Barger is proud to support Bridge to Home as a partner in our mutual effort to provide temporary shelter and vital services to help break the cycle of homelessness,” said Barger spokesman Tony Bell.

Foley said this financial support will “help as we’re applying for funding that will fund our shelter 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We certainly hope that we secure this money so homeless people don’t have to go from safety to insecurity.”

Bridge to Home is currently seeking year-round operational funding through a new request for proposal that was sent in last month, said Foley. LAHSA officials recently conducted a site visit and the organization is “in the waiting process.”

“We expect to hear back from them in May or early June,” he said. “If we secure the funding then we will go back to offering 60 beds, 30 emergency beds and (will move) from operating 14 hours a day to 24 hours a day.”

From April through July 31, the shelter will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and will offer only 45 beds rather than 60 — the amount offered during the winter season — to individuals who are working toward transitioning from homelessness to housing.

Chris Najarro, director of programs at Bridge to Home, said she expects a busy spring and winter season and all beds occupied. The organization frequently provides an updated list of supplies needed, such as clean blankets, utensils and snacks, on its Facebook page.

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