Bridge to Home Temporarily Moves Shelter Operations to Newhall Community Center
In an effort to combat COVID-19, Bridge to Home moved its 60-bed shelter operation on Drayton Street to the larger space of the Newhall Community Center with Santa Clarita City Council approval. The move was necessary to allow for social distancing among the homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic. “On behalf of Bridge to Home, we appreciate that the City Council and City staff approved our request,” said Executive Director Michael Foley.
Medical researchers have warned that the homeless population is especially susceptible to the novel coronavirus. “The homeless population is considered at high risk of contracting the coronavirus due to limited access to hygiene facilities,” said Mayor Cameron Smyth.
Measures have been taken by officials throughout the country to aid in the prevention of the epidemic hitting the vulnerable homeless population, including temporary housing in hotels or shelters. The U.S. The Department of Veterans Affairs set up the first temporary tent city in nearly 40 years for homeless veterans. Extensive measures have been taken and Santa Clarita’s Bridge to Home has made similar efforts to uphold the health of residents.
“We needed to make sure everyone was safe and well at the same time and so far[the move] has helped a lot,” said Nikki Feast-Williams from Bridge to Home.
Approximately one-third of the shelter’s clients are over the age of 55 and considered high-risk, making the transfer a necessary move for the safety of others.
The move from Drayton Street to the community center was done in one day with the help of volunteers, Camelot Movers and the cooperation of staff and residents.
“As soon as we found out we were moving, we started asking the clients to start downsizing and packing,” said Feast-Williams.
While the country grapples with widespread shortages of necessary goods, shelters have especially felt the shortfall and are also in need of basic everyday commodities. “We’re looking for a lot of the same stuff the community is looking for unfortunately. Hand sanitizer is a big need here and gloves of all different sizes. We need items like shampoo, soap and meal donations to continue to come through,” said Bridge to Home’s Chris Najarro.
In response to some of these needs, Najarro explained that volunteers and donors have been using Amazon delivery or dropping off boxes of essential items to the shelter in an effort to both aid the homeless and maintain social distancing.
“Our community is resilient and unified—and continues to work together to find new and innovative ways to protect one another,” said Mayor Smyth.
To donate, drop offs at the Newhall Community Center are permitted and gladly accepted. Monetary donations online are also welcome at Bridge to Home website, www.btohome.org.
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