The city of Lancaster, led by Vice Mayor Marvin Crist, has played a key role in ensuring that many local homeless, who have been receiving needed care from a number of local churches via the Grace Resources Winter Sanctuary Program, are still able to receive shelter and services during the harsh Antelope Valley winter season.

The Grace Resources Winter Sanctuary Program works in conjunction with a number of local churches to care nightly for up to 30 homeless individuals in need. The program recently hit a snag when it was determined that portions of the program were not meeting all Los Angeles County codes.

Upon learning of this potential program-ending problem, the City and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds sprang into action to ensure that the Winter Sanctuary Program will be able to continue to provide its services – now at Antelope Valley Fairground facilities.

“Our faith based community plays a very integral role throughout our valley, in particular as it relates to helping those in need,” Crist said. “We need them to help address our community issues, and they have continued to accept these many challenges. They have stepped up to make this program a success and are more than committed to helping those most in need throughout the harsh winter season and beyond. The very least we can do is assist them in being successful by providing the space needed to accomplish this very worthwhile endeavor.”

Now, participants will meet at Grace Resource Center to receive transportation to one of the participating local churches. From 6pm to 9pm they will be served a hot dinner, followed by group fellowship. They will then be provided transportation to the A.V. Fairgrounds where they will have shelter for the evening. In the morning, they will receive transportation back to Grace Resource Center where they will be served a warm breakfast, and receive case management as well as other services from Grace Resource staff and volunteers.

“The old adage that it takes a village to truly transform lives is once again coming to fruition here in Lancaster. I would like to acknowledge the leadership team at Grace Resources, as they are the ones who have orchestrated and facilitated this Winter Sanctuary Program,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “This program, coupled with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s complete and utter dedication to helping our region’s growing homeless population, not only during the winter months but year-round, coupled with what is on the horizon will prove that when all necessary parties come together with a multi-pronged approach any community issue can be solved.”

The local churches involved in the Winter Sanctuary Program include: Central Christian Church; Westside Christian Fellowship; Grace Chapel; Life Church; Oasis Church; Living Stone Cathedral; Antelope Valley Christian Church; and Palmdale Community Church.

“I am very appreciative of the many efforts going on in and around our community to address the ongoing issue of homelessness. We are supportive of every organization and government entity working together to help solve this issue,” said Chris Johnson, senior pastor Grace Chapel and president of the Antelope Valley Ministerial Alliance. 

“Specifically, I would like to thank Vice Mayor Crist and our City leaders for their unwavering support of the Winter Sanctuary Program, as well as helping to secure the Fairgrounds for people to sleep in a warm and safe environment.”

“We as a City continue to find ways to work with public, private and faith-based organizations in order to figure out the most efficient ways to solve societal challenges,” added Council Member Raj Malhi. “I’m very happy to see that those most in need will continue to receive these much needed services especially now in the Christmas Season.