Northridge’s long-time Skateland roller rink will reopen as a homeless shelter by November 2021, if all goes according to plan. Hope of the Valley, a service provider for the unhoused, aims to provide around 100 beds, plus case managers, storage space, mental health services, and recovery programs on-site.
Hope of the Valley’s Ken Craft says, “We’re trying to balance needs [of unhoused people] and their rights, as well as the deep concerns of the neighborhood.”
More than 700 people are unhoused in the northwest San Fernando Valley, according to the latest count in January.
Many live along the railroad tracks that run behind Skateland, like Brynn Reader. “At least out here, people won’t be going through my stuff. They get sick inside their shelters,” she says.
Some community members are also concerned, but for different reasons. Nearby business owner Jeff, who doesn’t want to share his last name to protect his company, says, “If they’re going to go through with this, the people should have a voice. The community’s really upset.”
Other Northridge natives like Don Larson, who works with unhoused people on the tracks, says no one wants homelessness. However, “They all know that something has to happen, but there is that NIMBY part of it, ‘not in my backyard’ stuff. It’s okay as long as you don’t do it on my street.”