Ground was officially broken on Monday for a new, permanent Santa Clarita Valley homeless shelter to be operated by the nonprofit Bridge to Home.
The event at the Drayton Street location was attended by local dignitaries, City Council members, and state and local representatives.
The new shelter is a collaborative effort between Bridge to Home, community donors, and the city of Santa Clarita, which provided the land for the building. Expected to open in 2023, the building will accommodate 60 shelter beds, eight family homes in apartment-style units, meeting spaces and a technology center apart from other essential facilities. Planned as a transitory facility, the Bridge to Home shelter will assist homeless families and individuals with a larger goal to address chronic homelessness in the city.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District including Santa Clarita, said that this will more than a homeless shelter. She also expressed joy over a unanimous call from all stakeholders to support this venture. She stressed the need to help the downtrodden with respect.
“This community understands that it’s about giving back. It’s about giving back with dignity. We must help people who’ve come to hit hard times,” with the hope that “they can turn their lives around. Redemption is real,” she added before presenting a proclamation to Bridge to Home board chair and President Tracey Carpentier.
Carpentier pointed out the delays caused by the pandemic, and the return to normal. “It takes a village and it’s long overdue in the valley of Santa Clarita.” She said that everyone who lives here is blessed to live in a community that is so generous as a permanent shelter becomes a reality in SCV.
“A place to get help and hope and make the life-altering change from homeless to shelter,” she said, describing the planned shelter. She thanked the city of Santa Clarita for donating the land, and emphasized the necessity to keep raising money, especially due to shortages of materials and rising project costs.
Chris Najarro, executive director of Bridge to Home, spoke about the facilities and the ability for the future residents to not only have a place to live, but also efforts to get back on their feet again with online classes, job training and mental health services. “We cannot wait for the benefits this new facility will bring to our clients and the community.”
Mayor Laurene Weste spoke about the importance of community support. The Bridge to Home shelter, she said, is “pivotal moment in our city, a collaborative effort.” She said the city is proud to donate the recently purchased land, since it is a collective effort. She commended Bridge to Home for its determination and for the people who supported them. “Santa Clarita always steps up.”
Representatives from Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, commended the efforts and presented certificates to Bridge to Home. The ceremony ended with shovels in land, as the gathered dignitaries officially broke ground on a facility expected to change lives of people who need it.