After reaching out to medical professionals and firefighters last week, the Santa Clarita City Council paid a visit to Bridge to Home on Tuesday to donate supplies needed to help the most vulnerable.
Council members delivered boxes of items ranging from 300 masks, gloves, sanitizing wipes and 84 cases of water at the Newhall Community Center, where Bridge to Home’s shelter temporarily transferred due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The city’s donation comes after it entered into an agreement with Bridge to Home, the primary homeless service provider in the Santa Clarita Valley, to transfer from its Drayton Street site to the city’s community center. The move has allowed the nonprofit to continue its operations, such as sheltering up to 60 individuals who are experiencing homelessness, in a larger facility to allow for enhanced physical distancing and other safety measures issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Health experts have deemed the homeless population among the most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, prompting the city to lend a hand to Bridge to Home clients and staff.
“Partnering with Bridge to Home was one of the first steps we took. People who are experiencing homelessness are at greater risk for contracting the virus and it just made sense to find a creative solution to help keep those individuals protected,” said Mayor Cameron Smyth, who is also the chair of the city’s ad hoc homelessness task force, about the city-nonprofit partnership.
The supplies were much needed. In fact, donations came as the shelter ran out of paper masks, said Smyth.
“It’s just great that the City Council used its resources to secure extra water, masks and cleaning supplies. It was great to welcome them at the community center, which, in many ways, has been even more of a community center than it’s ever been,” said Michael Foley, Bridge to Home’s director.
Bridge to Home is also behind the coordination of temporarily housing and serving the homeless population at Super 8 hotel in Canyon Country as part of the statewide effort Project Roomkey that aims to offer 15,000 hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness amid the coronavirus crisis.
As of Tuesday, there were no reported cases of COVID-19 among the SCV homeless population, said Foley.