Tackling Homelessness in Santa Clarita
By City Manager Ken Striplin
Around the country, homelessness is on the rise and unfortunately, Santa Clarita is not immune. That is why the City, in collaboration with local agencies and organizations, have been working together to address this challenge and help the most vulnerable members of our community. Much of this work has been done through the Santa Clarita Community Task Force on Homelessness, which was formed in 2018 and made up of more than 30 local key stakeholders.
Councilwoman Marsha McLean is the current Chair, a seat that was previously held by Mayor Cameron Smyth, and facilitates quarterly meetings to track progress outlined in their action items. Through these meetings, a new, two-year Community Plan to Address Homelessness was created in 2022, after successfully completing the first Plan. This new Plan focuses on Advocacy and Coordination of Resources, Prevention, Direct Services and Housing.
Last month, in partnership with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and Bridge to Home, volunteers came together for the 2024 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. The data allows LAHSA to better direct and advocate for vital services to support the needs of our unhoused neighbors. Additionally, the count helps to determine the amount of Measure H and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds are given to our local programs.
This year marks a key milestone for our community in addressing homelessness. Bridge to Home’s permanent homeless shelter is in the final phases of construction, with a grand opening slated for this spring. This facility will be the first of its kind within the City, offering interim housing for 60 individuals and eight separate apartment-style units that can accommodate up to 32 people. This shelter will provide our community’s unhoused neighbors a safe place to stay and access to resources and support as they transition into permanent housing. The City is proud to have donated the land this new shelter sits upon and $2 million in much-needed funding.
Another vital facility in the works is Family Promise’s shelter, which will provide an emergency overnight unit and four interim housing units. Family Promise provides resources such as shelters, meals and support services to families who are facing homelessness. Anticipated to open their doors by the end of the year, this new addition is a momentous step for this nonprofit to continue aiding some of our most vulnerable population. The success of these shelters is thanks in part to our City Council for donating the land and funds to jump-start the process.
While there is no easy fix to homelessness, I am proud to see our City come together and work towards a better future for our community, and even more proud that we have been ahead of the curve in addressing these sensitive issues. Great strides have been made, but there is still work to be done. For more information, or for additional resources, please visit SantaClaritaHomelessAction.org.
Ken Striplin is the City Manager for the City of Santa Clarita and can be reached at email@example.com.