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Winter shelter wants to stay open

The homeless refuge closed on March 15 and will re-open next winter.

Posted: March 31, 2008 4:01 a.m.
Updated: June 1, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
Two weeks after it closed its doors for the season, the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter expressed hope that it would never have to close its doors ever again on Sunday. Tim Davis, the executive director of the Santa Clarita Community Development Corporation, told members of the Unitarian Universalists of Santa Clarita Valley that the Emergency Winter Shelter exceeded expectations this past winter, and plans are in the works to make the shelter's operations year-round.

Davis, who was a guest speaker at the Unitarian Universalists' Sunday Forum, told members of the congregation that the Emergency Winter Shelter had a successful 2007-2008 season. Specifically, approximately 239 people took advantage of the shelter's services during the 100-day operation, including 26 families. The shelter was also at or beyond capacity for 43 nights.

Despite the numbers, Davis said the shelter, which was open from Dec. 6 to March 15, could have done more.

"There were 43 nights we ran at capacity," he said. "But we should have seen more people."

The shelter also assisted 71 people in securing employment or housing. According to Davis, 52 of those people - approximately 75 percent - were successfully placed in a home, job or both.

In light of the reported success, Davis said there is more that the shelter can do.

Specifically, he said the shelter, located in Golden Valley, will expand its parking lot to accommodate mobile medical services. Davis also indicated that the facility itself will be expanded. Currently, there are three buildings in use at the shelter. With the shelter at capacity for almost half of its operation, the facility's board of directors plan to add a fourth building to accommodate demand.

The board of directors also looked into building a transitional living center in the SCV, which would provide job and living skills for those who come to the shelter for assistance.

"We are on the right track," Davis added. "Hopefully we can see more people this upcoming winter."

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