Bridge to Home secures $840K for year-round operations

FILE PHOTO Bridge to Home Shelter donations come from families, churches, scouts and businesses. Helping set up the sleeping quarters with blankets and towels are volunteers Haley (L) and Riley (C) Cabot and Resident Attendant Jayne Patafio (R). Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal
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The Santa Clarita Valley’s only homeless shelter, run by the nonprofit Bridge to Home, announced Friday it secured $840,000 in year-round funding for 60 beds and 24-hour services starting this fall. 

By Sept. 15, individuals experiencing homelessness across the Santa Clarita Valley will have access to shelter and resources at any hour, 365 days a year at the area’s primary homeless services provider. 

The move comes about seven months after officials found out a grant that would have provided for year-round shelter operations had been canceled. 

The new funds are a result of an RFP, or request for proposal, for year-round operations submitted in December through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a joint powers authority between the county and city of L.A. that financially supports agencies like Bridge to Home, said Mike Foley, executive director of the nonprofit. 

The application came after a former grant process to receive nearly $1 million was canceled due to insufficient Measure H funds that other homeless housing projects around the L.A. County area were competing for, according to Tom Waldman, director of communications with LAHSA. 

As a result, the Newhall-based provider lacked the funds necessary to transition from an emergency shelter to a year-round facility. However, funding support from L.A. County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the city of Santa Clarita and donations from community partners has managed to keep doors open for the shelter’s longest operating season yet. In years past, the shelter traditionally opened around the week before Thanksgiving and operated until the end of winter.

The donations this past year have helped the organization stay open past the winter season and offer 45 beds to individuals. While the shelter is open at the moment, shelter officials have asked the community for donations to keep it open until September, when the new funds take effect.

“When we got the word that the RFP was delayed, that took everybody by surprise, but I think the community was able to come together and provide enough gap funding to keep it open until today with new funding,” said Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth, who is the chairman of the Santa Clarita Homeless Task Force. 

While Bridge to Home secured thousands in year-round funding, the contract only covers 75% of its expanded operations, said Foley. There is an immediate need for $100,000 now and an additional $150,000 for the upcoming months for a total of $250,000 by Sept. 30. 

The nonprofit has launched a fundraising campaign to fill this gap and those interested in helping can donate in many ways. To find out how, you can visit btohome.org. 

“These funds, awarded by LAHSA, are the boost we needed,” Foley said in a prepared statement. “I urge all of you, whether you are long-term supporter or looking to give back to your community, to consider donating to Bridge to Home. Your support will make an enormous difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

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