In The News...
Family homeless shelter reopens in Northridge after fire
Article from the Daily News - Published June 30, 2015
Georgina Rodriguez was so frightened she could hardly walk as she watched giant flames engulf the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission in North Hollywood last May where she had just escaped with other homeless people.
But on Monday, the 15-year-old Rodriguez was beaming as she sat inside the new $6-million, 90-bed Home Again Family Shelter in Northridge, the largest such shelter in the Valley that will become her family’s new home next month.
“I’m just in love with this place ... it feels so much like home,” Rodriguez said from a spacious living room near the building’s entrance. “I see this and I just want to jump on the couch and lay down on the beds. It’s just so colorful and welcoming.”
The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission unveiled its new two-story shelter — which will include 30 beds for a short-term emergency shelter — to the community Monday with dignitaries’ speeches, tours and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 16,000-square-foot shelter, located at 8756 Canby Ave., triples the Rescue Mission’s capacity from 30 beds — located at a 10-bedroom house the nonprofit has been renting up the street since shortly after the fire — to 90 beds, said Wade Trimmer, the organization’s director.
“This is not what you expect when you say, ‘This is a shelter for homeless families,’ Trimmer said from a cozy children’s lounge and study area. “The sense of dignity, the sense of home, the comfort it provides, just the space itself. And then what happens here — it’s a full recovery program for folks to get back on their feet.”
About half of the facility’s cost has been raised so far by donors, he said.
The public is often resistant to doing such projects because they are fearful of having one in their neighborhood, said Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district represented the Saticoy Street shelter that burned down last year. But if they could see the building and meet the families there, “they would have an entirely different viewpoint,” he told about 100 attendees.
Families will start moving in to the new shelter in phases starting in a couple of weeks, Trimmer said. Those in the emergency shelter can stay there for up to 90 days, while those in the longer-term rooms can stay up to 10 months. Parents are expected to work within the first 30 days and save up to 80 percent of their income, he said.
Watch reporter Christina Salvo's full report about the opening of San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission's emergency Shelter HomeAgain.