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Our View: We need a year-round homeless shelter

Posted: March 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 


With the recent closing of Bridge to Home, formerly the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter, for the season, those in the SCV without places to live now find themselves having to look elsewhere for warm, safe places to sleep for the next eight or nine months.

 This is unacceptable.

In a community as warm and welcoming as this, and one as supportive of countless worthy charities, it seems like we should have a permanent, year-round place for our down-and-out neighbors to sleep. Families should not become invisible citizens in any community.

Largely due to the economic downturn, the demand for shelter is greater than it has been in a long time, so we feel that this is the time to invest in a permanent solution, and not just a temporary program for a couple of months a year when the weather is at its worst.

This is the community that never shies away from supporting big fundraising events, such as the annual Child & Family Center’s Taste of the Town, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation’s An Evening Under the Stars and the Boys & Girls Club’s Festival of Trees.

All are worthy causes that raise thousands of dollars for the well-being of the SCV and beyond, but no such widespread outreach exists for the local homeless.

We know that the SCV is a place that cares about economically struggling people, as is evidenced by the many donations to the local food pantry.

And when Bridge to Home only had a few nights’ worth of funds in mid-December to house several families with its hotel-voucher program  through the middle of March (only singles are allowed to stay at the shelter) — the community rallied, and the need was met.

Those are the attributes the SCV most prides itself on: a sense of community, of being able to independently take on challenges and to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here.

Let’s make this the year that we provide a permanent, stable place to catch our neighbors who our temporarily struggling and need a little help getting back on their feet. It would be a very SCV thing to do.

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