Efforts to improve and expand homeless housing and shelter in the Santa Clarita Valley have long been in the making, and city and organization officials announced this week several advancements to address the local homelessness issue.
On Tuesday, Santa Clarita City Council members approved the transfer of a 32,200-square-foot vacant Newhall lot, valued at $1.6 million, to Family Promise of SCV for affordable housing and office space. The transfer was approved at no cost to the nonprofit organization and the site can only be used for transitional or affordable housing, according to city officials.
In addition to space for case management services, the project is expected to bring four affordable housing units to families who have graduated from Family Promise’s shelter program “but don’t have sufficient funds to afford permanent housing,” said Executive Director Roché Vermaak.
“They will be able to save up and/or pay debt, and hopefully be able to get back on their feet and not become homeless again,” said Vermaak, who thanked the City Council “for donating this land to make our dream of building a resource center and affordable housing a reality.”
Support to bring the project to fruition stems from multiple avenues, including $300,000 in Measure H dollars granted from Los Angeles County to the city last year, specifically for interim family housing. Construction for the project would come from HomeAid Los Angeles and SCV-based Williams Homes, according to city officials.
The project is expected to break ground in the summer of 2021, said Williams Homes CEO Lance Williams.
Bridge to Home shelter
Expansion of Bridge to Home’s Drayton Street facility has been a long time coming but officials confirmed Thursday the project could break ground in early 2021.
“The project is as close as it’s ever been,” said Executive Director Michael Foley, adding that the facility will provide space to shelter 60 individuals, both men and women, and anywhere between 20 to 30 family members. “It’s very important to have that full-service shelter that’s so desperately needed.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit transferred from its Drayton Street location to the Newhall Community Center to safely shelter 60 individuals while practicing social distancing and other necessary safety measures — a task that would not have been as feasible at its original facility, according to Foley.
The project is currently in the entitlement process, according to Jerrid McKenna, assistant to the city manager.
“They’ve been really committed to designing a finished product that meets the need,” he said before the City Council Tuesday. “So, they’ve gone through needs assessment with the project manager, the community and Bridge to Home administration and the board themselves.”
As the steps for construction come closer, Foley said funds are still needed.
“We still have to raise a couple million dollars more,” he said. “Over $2 million will have to be spent just to prepare the land and the hills. We know we have many more additional steps but we are getting closer.”
To donate to Bridge to Home, including to participate in its Soup for the Soul virtual fundraiser, visit btohome.org.