The Santa Clarita City Council announces an agreement has been signed to allow the nonprofit, Bridge to Home, to move their homeless shelter operation to the Newhall Community Center.
As local, statewide, national and global municipalities work to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the homeless population has been identified as an at-risk population.
In addition, approximately one-third of the shelter’s clients are over the age of 55 and considered high-risk.
In Santa Clarita, Bridge to Home is the primary homeless services provider, operating a 60-bed shelter on Drayton Street.
Health experts advise that social distancing is the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to limited space at Bridge to Home’s Drayton Street location, the Santa Clarita City Council has agreed to allow the operation to temporarily relocate to the much larger Newhall Community Center.
By offering a location, within which those experiencing homelessness have the ability to practice social distancing, it will help protect this vulnerable population and protect our healthcare system from being overwhelmed with additional cases of the coronavirus.
“The homeless population is considered at high risk of contracting the coronavirus due to limited access to hygiene facilities,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth. “In addition, public health guidelines recommend six feet of social distancing between people. Santa Clarita is offering our Newhall Community Center facility so these guidelines can be followed to help protect the health of everyone. By taking proactive measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus we are lessening the strain on our crucial medical resources.”
Bridge to Home will begin moving their operation to the Newhall Community Center on Market Street in Old Town Newhall this Wednesday, March 25. The Community Center offers the space and amenities necessary to meet the health requirements during the coronavirus outbreak.
“On behalf of Bridge to Home, we appreciate that the City Council and City staff rapidly approved our request to shift homeless service operations temporarily to the Newhall Community Center,” said Bridge to Home Executive Director Michael Foley. “This is yet another example of the Council’s commitment to helping our neighbors move from homelessness to housing. Through this move, people now living at the Drayton Street Shelter will have a greater opportunity to practice social distancing and the amenities necessary to get through this unprecedented crisis.”
Bridge to Home is facing increased costs due to this move and the future move back to the Drayton Street facility. To donate, please visit www.btohome.org. They are also need of supplies during this time; crucial needs are regularly posted on the Bridge to Home Facebook page.
“Our community is resilient and unified – and continues to work together to find new and innovative ways to protect one another,” said Mayor Smyth. “While community center programming is on hiatus, this facility provides an ideal space to house our neighbors experiencing homelessness and slow the spread of the virus.”
The relocation of shelter operations is tentatively expected to last through April 19, in line with the County’s current coronavirus orders. For more information on the coronavirus outbreak please visit SantaClaritaEmergency.com.