A new homeless shelter in Northridge opened its doors this week with a mission to help give those experiencing homelessness the resources and services they need to obtain permanent housing.
The Trebek Center held its ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday on the site of a former Northridge roller rink. The 107-bedroom homeless shelter is named for Alex Trebek, the legendary host of “Jeopardy!”
Trebek, who died in 2020 from pancreatic cancer, was a financial and ideological supporter of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, which purchased the former skate rink property during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ken Craft, founder/CEO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, said Trebek reached out to him out of the blue after hearing about the organization’s plans to build a shelter in North Hollywood.
Craft gave Trebek and his wife, Jean, tours of the Rescue Mission’s North Hollywood project and other shelters in the L.A. area.
“He really took an interest in the work we were doing,” Craft said.
Trebek would eventually serve as the keynote speaker at the dedication of the organization’s 85-bed shelter in North Hollywood and the gameshow host even mentioned Hope of the Valley in his 2020 autobiography.
Their support continued and strengthened over time, which led to the Trebeks giving Hope of the Valley a $500,000 check to put towards the construction and renovations of the new Northridge center — the center which now bears the name of its most loyal supporters.
The 23,000-square-foot building features cubicle-style bedrooms to give each person living at the center a sense of privacy and personalization.
The new shelter will house more than 100 people at a time and is expected to house 200 people annually. Residents are expected to start arriving at the Trebek Center on Tuesday.
Craft said the Trebek Center will provide its residents with the support and resources they need to get into permanent housing, including job resources and mental health services.
“In a perfect world, we wish we could move everyone right into permanent, supportive, affordable housing, but unfortunately there’s just not enough of that available,” Craft said. “In the meantime, we have got to bring people indoors. The street cannot be the waiting room for permanent housing.”
Those interested in helping the organization achieve it mission can purchase supplies, buy a commemorative plaque on one of the building’s walls, or sponsor one of the 107 rooms on the property.
For more information about the Trebek Center, click here.