Rescue Mission to Open new Homeless Shelter

The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission is set to open a new 90-bed, 16,000 square feet homeless shelter in Northridge on Monday, June 29.

The new facility will replace the North Hollywood shelter that was destroyed by fire on May 3, 2014.

The blaze, which began at a nearby wood pallet warehouse, quickly spread to the Mission buildings on Saticoy Street and caused $2.5 million worth of damage. Besides the family shelter, a pantry, donation processing center and half of the Mission’s vehicle fleet were lost.

Eight families were safely evacuated from the fire.

Besides the shelter, other aspects of the mission’s ability to help the homeless in the San Fernando Valley was drastically impacted. The organization’s five box trucks and two vans used to pick up food and the donated items it sold at its thrift store — one of the principal ways to raise funds — were destroyed. The Mission also lost hundreds of stored items it provided to the homeless and for sale at its thrift stores.

The blaze also caused a temporary suspension of the S.O.S. program, which visited six areas in the Valley each week with a mobile shower unit, hot nutritious meals and hygiene items. Each month, the S.O.S. program served an estimated 1,500 people.

The new shelter, paid for by public and private donations, features private family bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, a common dining room and living spaces, meeting rooms, a computer education center, plus a playground and garden.

“It will enable the San Fernando Valley to realize a reduction of its homeless population, many of whom are neglected, and underserved. Staff will work with families to establish a plan for restoration and self-sufficiency, offering life skills programs and training on-site for up to 12 months, as well as collaborating with other agencies and community resources,” according to the Mission’s website.