Bridge to Home opens early in Santa Clarita

by Jazz Piatt 0

imageBridge to Home opened its doors early to the homeless population of the Santa Clarita Valley because of expected colder weather this week.

In September the Los Angeles County approached SCV, encouraging an earlier opening date due to the expected inclement weather. Annette Guzman, the current Deputy Executive Director of Bridge to Home explains that the shelter, “definitely had a greater sense of urgency to get volunteers and supplies together.”

When asked about the hasty welcoming—Connie Murray, Bridge to Home’s Case Manager for the past four years says that, “the most important thing was getting clients out of the rain. It was actually a good thing that we opened early. [We have to] make sure that our families are not left without somewhere to go.”

Bridge to Home aims to find out the individual needs of their clients to aid them as they transition away from homelessness, and become their most successful selves. The shelter provides warm meals, shelter, clothing, medical and dental assistance, case management services, and referrals.

Guzman expresses, “I think we have a respect for these people who are in unfortunate circumstances right now. I think it is important to [help] their dignities by giving them food and clothing. You want to bring these people up, not put them down.”

For the past 19 years, the shelter has been able to find a temporary home during the winter months—but has yet to find a permanent year round location. Today, the shelter has a $1 million budget, relying on donations from the community and support from volunteers to assist an average of 40 clients per a night.

The shelter’s drop in center, is located in the same shopping center as Savia — the Newhall campus of Real Life Church, runs from 8 a. m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Guzman adds that, “the heart of the shelter is the community, they are kind and caring. [With them] coming in giving their time and resources, it is better than we could imagine.”

Though the shelter is only seasonal, Bridge to Home does run year-round services under the name ‘The Bridge,’ where eligible clients can receive case management [referrals, free and/or free services and supplies] and housing or rent assistance.

Those interested in volunteer opportunities and contact information should check out Bridge to Home’s website http://www.btohome.com/ and click under the volunteer section. While the shelter does always appreciate monetary donations, the most-needed material items are listed on the home page.

Guzman encourages Santa Clarita residents to, “continue to volunteer and donate, so that [the shelter and their clients] can get by day-to-day.”

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