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| Thursday, Oct 22, 2020
Project Roomkey
A check in tent is set up at the entrance of the Super 8 Hotel in Canyon Country on Saturday, April 11, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal


With L.A. County’s Project Roomkey coming close to an end, Bridge to Home officials announced Thursday a new initiative to house more than two dozen local homeless individuals, but it will require help from the community.

Project 30 pledges to house 30 homeless people by Jan. 5 and is expected to offer case management and resource support.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to house people that are in desperate need. With help from every corner of the community, our goal is to provide housing before Project Room Key ends,” said Bridge to Home Executive Director Michael Foley in a statement.

The nonprofit organization, which has housed homeless individuals through the COVID-19 pandemic at the Newhall Community Center and spearheaded the local Project Roomkey location at a Super 8 in Canyon Country, is funding Project 30 through a contract with the L.A. Homeless Services Authority.

The contract is estimated at $760,000, according to Jeff Proctor, associate director of performance management with LAHSA.

With the funds, Bridge to Home will pay monthly rent, utilities and other expenses directly to landlords and property owners for up to two years, according to Foley.

“The housing market remains very tight in the Santa Clarita Valley. However, with this special program, we can pay full rent for this unique population – the vast majority of who became homeless here in Santa Clarita and are already in our counseling system,” he added. “Whether a studio, one-bedroom apartment, a room or shared housing, we have the resources to meet this need while developing even longer-term solutions to establishing permanent income.”

The announcement as the Super 8 is expected to shut down operations on Jan. 5. The motel has housed part of the local homeless population since April. Through funding from the state, L.A. County has a list of motels it will buy to continue housing homeless from Project Roomkey locations but the Canyon Country site was not among those chosen, according to Michelle Vega, spokeswoman for county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley.

With the SCV not on the list, the hope was to guide the homeless to local service providers such as Bridge to Home to connect to housing options, to which they will now be able to via Project 30, officials said.

How to help
That’s where the community comes in, said Foley. The nonprofit is seeking to learn from residents and businesses with information regarding available housing.

Anyone with access to housing resources is encouraged to contact Foley at 661-254-4663 or via email at mike.foley@btohome.org.

The nonprofit is also looking for multiple volunteers to help with housing searches, moving and long-term coaching, mentorship and friendship support.

“If there is one thing we have learned about the journey to end homelessness, it is – the solution cannot be outsourced,” said Foley. “When neighbors and community members are trained and work side-by-side with professionals, coaching and befriending our neighbors experiencing homelessness, only then, can we have a tremendous impact.”

Those interested in volunteering can contact volunteer coordinator Randi Wyatt-Billings at (661) 313-9002 or email randi@btohome.org.

Bridge to Home is also campaigning to raise $300,000 before the end of the year to help cover the organizations’ additional services and programs amid the pandemic. To donate, volunteer or learn about their virtual Soup for the Soul event gala, visit btohome.org.

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