Bridge to Home officials gathered Thursday morning to formally thank Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the city of Santa Clarita for providing gap funding as the nonprofit transitions from an emergency shelter to a year-round homeless shelter.
“When we just had the emergency shelter, people had to leave by 8 in the morning and every March, when it came around, the shelter was closed,” Hunt Braly, Bridge to Home board member, said during a news conference. “That was the case until now, until April 1 of this year, thanks to Supervisor Barger we are open for the first time after March 31.”
Surrounded by volunteers and local dignitaries such as Barger, the City Council and other elected representatives, Braly and Peggy Edwards, president of Bridge to Home board of directors, shared how the county and city’s support has impacted the nonprofit so far.
“Thank you so much for your vote on Tuesday night,” Edwards said to council members, referring to their unanimous decision to approve a one-time grant of $150,000 that will go toward hiring a project manager for Bridge to Home’s upcoming permanent shelter and to increase homeless services.
To date, the nonprofit has received nearly $2 million for operations and future development from both the city and the county. The city’s purchase and transfer of two properties to Bridge to Home, worth about $1 million, and a $90,000-investment from Barger for a new sewer line project on the site.
“Today, as you see, we’re operating in temporary buildings without a sewer system,” said Mike Foley, executive director of Bridge to Home. “We’re using portable toilets and showers. That is about to change thanks to our donors and a $90,000 investment from Supervisor Barger who worked to break out a new sewer line project very soon.”
Barger said the issue of homelessness is one that will “plague us for a long time to come but my commitment is to make a difference.” The supervisor added that while local communities continue their efforts, she will work on addressing mental health “because they truly do need the services that, currently, we’re unable to provide to them.”
Foley took the opportunity to announce that Thursday marked the official launch of Bridge to Home’s campaign to challenge the philanthropic and donor community to help match funds received dollar-for-dollar.
“We will do everything possible to make sure that this remains a debt-free organization that is capable of meeting the needs of this community,” said Foley.
To learn more about the campaign and to donate, visit bthome.org.