The Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter is winding down its operations for this “season,” but as the doors close, those who have nowhere to go are left stranded.
For a number of the shelter’s residents their new homes will be cars, tents, or if they’re lucky a friendly couch.
“Some have made arrangements to stay with friends, or ‘couch surf,’ but others are getting tents and moving into the riverbed,” said Tim Davis, Executive Director for the shelter.
As clients leave the shelter, they are provided with items such as blankets, towels, hygiene items and if possible, leftover food goods like cans of tuna.
Throughout the season, which runs from December 1 through March 16, clients of the shelter receive meals, a warm bed and other social services to help them get back on their feet.
The shelter provides them with case managers who help them with issues that prevent them from finding a job like making appointments to meet with the DMV or mental health issues. The case managers also help the clients find jobs.
“Often times people have a number of problems and when they’re trying to fix those problems, and find dinner, and figure out where they’re going to sleep, it’s difficult,” said Davis. “If some of those issues are resolved, then they can focus on other issues.”
To try and bridge the gap through the nine months that the shelter is closed the City of Santa Clarita works with Lutheran Social Services to help those who continue to need support.
LSS provides the case management for the emergency shelter in the winter months and continues those services through the shelters down time.
Linda Malerba, director of LSS for Santa Clarita, says that the organization provides a number of programs for those in need as well as bus passes and gift cards.
Despite the abundance of help in the winter months, the homeless in Santa Clarita are still without shelter throughout the summer months.
Davis says that the emergency shelter is working with the City as well as their other sponsors to bridge the gap in housing, but no time table has been secured.
“To say that we have a plan means that we have all of the funding for the project,” said Davis. “Right now we have the goals and objectives and the plans are coming soon.”