Elected officials and guests were invited to make their mark on a beam representing the heart of the developing Bridge to Home homeless shelter on Wednesday at the organization’s Beam Signing Ceremony.
Those in attendance included Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth, Councilwoman Laurene Weste, Councilwoman Marsha McLean, county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Tami Stephens representing Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Andrew Taban representing Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth.
Bridge to Home has been in operation for over 25 years and began originally as the Santa Clarita Community Development Corp. It serves over 700 households per year.
Tracey Carpentier, president of the BTH board of directors, said the new facility will provide interim housing for 60 individuals — 40 men and 20 women.
This facility will be the first family shelter in the region. There will be eight separate apartment-style units for families that can accommodate up to 32 people.
According to Chris Najarro, executive director of BTH, at the time of the signing, the facility established running water and the sewer lines were set in place. Najarro estimates that the facility will be “up and running” in about a year.
“In the Santa Clarita region, it is one valley, one vision, and it’s one vision to make sure that we help those in need,” said Barger, “and give them the opportunity to get up off the streets and live productive lives.”
The facility has been a multi-year project and the funding sources include:
- $5.2 million from Barger’s efforts.
- $2 million from the efforts of state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and former Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita.
- $2 million from Garcia’s efforts.
- $2 million from funding and the land gifted from the city of Santa Clarita.
“This is how Santa Clarita really sets the standard,” said Smyth. “There was not one person speaking in opposition to that (the funding).”
Barger said to Najarro that she would always be willing to provide the support that BTH needs from the county.
Smyth, Weste, McLean, Barger and her representative Stephanie English, Stephens, Taban, Carpentier, Najarro and City Manager Ken Striplin were the first invited to sign the beam.
“This beam represents hope, strength, dignity, solutions, and change for Santa Clarita Valley and our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said Carpentier. “This beam is going to provide the shelter strength and support just as we do at Bridge to Home every day for our clients and our residents. This beam will provide us the true meaning of help, hope and change.”
Once they had made their permanent mark in Sharpie ink, the rest of the attendees were invited to sign as well.
“The signing of this beam, for me, signifies the strength and the hope, but more importantly, the beginning of rebuilding people’s lives,” said Barger. “Something as a board, you are making a difference.”