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Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022
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Businesses Get Behind SCV Homeless Shelter

Santa Clarita homeless service nonprofit Bridge to Home has expanded the industrial property at 23031 Drayton St., which has long served as the organization’s part-time winter emergency homeless shelter, into the city’s first 24-hour, 365-day shelter. The project was bankrolled largely with charitable contributions from the region’s business community — a crowdsourced fundraising campaign that has already raised more than $237,000. “Although we have a beneficial contract with (Los Angeles) County, it doesn’t cover all costs of the shelter. And we operate a large access center where we currently have over 250 people on our caseload that we’re working with who are experiencing homelessness,” said Bridge to Home Chief Executive Michael Foley. To make the center work, Bridge to Home hopes to raise a total of $455,000 in donations not including grants by July 31. Foley said the goal was to finish out the fall 2019 season having raised $250,000 of that. The organization has received help from two “premier sponsors” that each put up donations of $25,000: landscaping company Stay Green Inc., and Steve Kim, billionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist and owner of the Sand Canyon Country Club. “I have seen first-hand the impact of homelessness and felt the need to give back in a meaningful way,” Kim said in a statement. The nonprofit also threw a fundraising dinner earlier this month called “Soup for the Soul – Sera in Italia,” at the Bella Vida Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Canyon Country, where guests sampled six artisanal soups that will be served regularly at the new shelter. More than 300 local donors attended, including Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Pardee Homes, Kaiser Permanente, Princess Cruises, Chiquita, California Resources Corp., Shield HealthCare, Mr. Stacks, Southern California Edison and Newport Land, each of whom donated more than $2,500, as well as Assemblymember Christy Smith and L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. In total, the event netted $133,500 for Bridge to Home. “We’re off to a good start. … We’re trying to raise it just as quickly as we can because we have gone from a $1.4 million budget to a $2.5 million budget. We have to have cash because for almost all of the contracts we have, you have to spend the money before you can get it back,” Foley said. The permanent shelter contains 60 beds and provides comprehensive case management that includes employment assistance, legal and financial counseling, physical and mental health care and recovery and food services for its patrons, Foley said. Bringing a full-time shelter to Santa Clarita is a milestone, but Bridge to Home has even bigger projects on the horizon. At the end of 2018, the city granted the nonprofit ownership of the 2.5-acre parcel where its shelter sits. Bridge to Home is currently writing a proposal to build the region’s first comprehensive homeless services campus on that land. “We’re very close to making a submission to the city,” said Foley. “It will be, in essence, a campus where anything a homeless person could need to go from homelessness to housing is available in one location.” That includes dormitories for men and women, showers, dining facilities, medical and social services centers and more. Bridge to Home recently secured a $680,000 grant to build the region’s first family shelter there with 20 beds, which will be the first campus facility to begin construction. The nonprofit aims to break ground in June or July 2020. “We’re guessing we probably need to raise about $1 million in donations on a $5.6 million project,” he said. “This is going to be a massive, massive community endeavor. The fact is, it’s very difficult to end homelessness without the interconnection and interdependence of everyone in the community.”

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