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Homeless shelter closes until next winter

Posted: April 1, 2013 2:18 p.m.
Updated: April 1, 2013 2:18 p.m.

Terri Hansen of Saugus shares a high-five with Bryan Stubbins as she volunteers in the dining room of the Bridge to Home shelter on Christmas morning 2012. Signal file photo

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The Santa Clarita Valley emergency winter shelter has shut its doors for the last time this season, but some of the services offered over the winter will continue for the shelter’s clients, an official said Monday.

Among the services to continue is the shelter’s dental clinic, a new program that offers routine dental services such as cleanings, extractions and root canals free of charge to 10 to 12 people every month.

Tim Davis, the executive director of Bridge to Home, said those clinics are fully booked through the end of the year.

Bridge to Home will also continue with its Families to Homes program, which seeks to find long-term housing solutions for homeless families. That program started last July.

Bridge to Home’s counseling program, which gives people access to counseling for addiction, mental illness or issues they may be facing, will also continue year-round, Davis said.

Over the next few months Bridge to Home will focus on expanding those year-round programs, Davis said, as well as doing routine maintenance at the shelter’s location on Drayton Street in Saugus.

The shelter will be at the Drayton Street location for at least the next three years following a February vote by the Santa Clarita City Council to extend Bridge to Home’s lease on the property.

Davis said the move allows Bridge to Home to focus its attention elsewhere.

“It frees up our resources ... to sit down and think about how can we expand services, how we can get more capabilities for services,” Davis said. “What we can offer is not just limited to how many cots we have.”

Davis estimated the shelter saw a little more than 50 patrons each night during its run this season Dec. 2 through March 31.

About three years ago the shelter saw an increase in demand of about 10 patrons a night and hovered around that level since.

“The economy was probably the major reason why we had a significant jump” in those seeking services, Davis said Monday.

He also said the shelter saw a decrease in the number of families it served this year, though he is unsure why.

“On one hand, we’re seeing more singles than we’ve ever seen, but on the other hand, we’re seeing fewer families,” Davis said. “The two just don’t seem to line up.”

Lmoney@signalscv.com
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