After the cancellation of a grant aimed at helping a local homeless services provider to begin year-round operations, Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth said Thursday he will ask the city of Santa Clarita to step in with what he hopes will help Bridge to Home continue its services until its grant application process is met.
“I think it’s appropriate for the City to step in and l0ok to provide a one-time gap funding to help the shelter stay open while Bridge to Home follows up with the new grant process, which I think would begin in the spring,” Smyth said. “The concern for our community is the delay. We were expecting that grant to be awarded in February that would have then allowed the shelter to open until the March timeline.”
Smyth said there are other grants available, but those are “slowing the clock.”
“At the next City Council meeting, I will ask the council to join me to direct the City Manager to connect with Bridge to Home staff and talk about the amount that would be appropriate and I think it would come from our general fund or reserve budget,” said Smyth, who along with Mayor Marsha McLean, serves on the city of Santa Clarita’s Homeless Ad Hoc Committee. “And that’s why I would want it to be a one-time infusion of money.”
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Mike Foley, Bridge to Home’s executive director, said they applied for the grant because of their goal to have a shelter that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Bridge to Home filed the grant in September as part the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) 2018 Interim Housing Request for Proposals; LAHSA is an independent, joint powers authority created by Los Angeles County and the city of LA in December 1993. According to LAHSA’s website, the group oversees more than $300 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for homeless services.
“(LAHSA) canceled the grant because the funding they had identified for that (3-year) grant was not going to be available,” Foley said. “We applied for just under $1 million a year. But there is a new grant process for the same type of programming that we are now in the process of applying for.”
Bridge to Home’s winter shelter closes on March 31 and, under the proposal, the shelter would not be receiving the funding until July.
“The last thing we want to do is close and put people back on the streets as we have in the past,” Foley said. “We’re going to need funding for at least a 4 month period. We know that’s gonna cost in the neighborhood of $200,000 that we’re going to have to raise. So we’re going to be seeking funds. Overturning every rock. Searching for all of the funding that we can get to not only meet our existing needs but future needs as well.”
Fifth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office has also pledged to work out a solution to the shelter’s funding pickle.
“Our office is fully committed to ensuring that Bridge to Home has the resources to continue operations beyond the winter shelter period and filling the funding gap that resulted from LAHSA’s funding allocation process,” said Barger spokesman Tony Bell. “We are also pleased to be working with our city partners in this effort.”
Bridge to Home provides support service–including an emergency winter shelter, case management, housing navigation, and referrals to medical, mental health, and substance use services–-that help individuals and families in the Santa Clarita Valley transition out of homelessness. All these resources and services are available thanks to funds from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, subcontracts with Los Angeles Family Housing, private and public grants, and extensive in-kind donations and participation from the local community.
If you would like to donate to Bridge to Home, click [here]. You can also mail checks to BTH’s main office at 23752 Newhall Avenue, Newhall, 91321.
The organization welcomes donations of meals, water, paper products, toiletries and office supplies. To donate goods, volunteer, or for more information, call (661) 254-4663 or visit the Bridge to Home website.