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Looking for hope: Local residents turn to homeless shelter for help during hard economic times

Posted: March 1, 2009 2:19 a.m.
Updated: March 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Despite a lifetime of work experience, Timothy Handy says he cannot find a job to save his life.

“And right now, that’s not just an expression,” he said.

“I can’t even find a job at a car wash,” the 50-year-old Santa Clarita Valley resident said.

Handy is one of about 50 people who now call the Santa Clarita Valley homeless shelter home. He lost his home to foreclosure in 2008 and said he’s lost two jobs in the past few months.

“I have a little savings, but not enough to survive on — it’s just really hard right now.”

The poor economy and spiraling jobless rate have increased the need for SCV’s homeless shelter, organizers said. However, the shelter, which opened in December, is due to close its doors March 15 and remain closed until next winter.

“I went out for over 20 jobs last week,” said Jessica Aldair, 32. “My mother died and I lost her (San Bernardino) home three months ago. I just hope and pray for a better day, and I’m going to keep on trying to get back out there and be strong.”

Space fills up quickly at the shelter, located on Golden Valley Road in Canyon Country.

“There is nowhere else to go, and if I don’t get here when they open every day, I am out of luck for the night,” said Aldair.

Families are among those who seek assistance at the shelter.

“A young guy and his wife were in here with their two small daughters the other night,” Handy said. “The guy was saying that after next month, they don’t know what they’re going to do. He’s lost everything.”

Shelter manager Annette Guzman said the story isn’t unusual.

“We know of some people who were living out of their cars with their children before coming through our doors,” Guzman said. “And by the time they get here, they feel this is their last hope.”

Guzman added, “We just want them to feel welcomed, safe and warm so they can find hope again for themselves and the future of their children.”

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