Refuge from Skid Row running out of money

SYLMAR, Calif. It's a study in contrasts: From the squalor of /*Skid Row*/, to a peaceful setting in Sylmar. Two vastly different environments, especially when it comes to raising children.

"Drug sales, people just doing drugs right there on the street in front of the children," said Brandi Eden, a resident of Hope Gardens.

Eden and her daughter lived on Skid Row for four months. But for the past nine months, they've been living at /*Hope Gardens Family Center*/.

"It's given me hope," said Eden. "I know that I can make it and I can move on, and I have all the support here."

"To me, this is like a resort," said Vanessa Ramirez, another resident. "It's beautiful here. Children love it here. It's clean here."

A total of 34 single mothers and 70 children live in the former retirement community in the foothills of Sylmar. The /*Union Rescue Mission*/ owns and operates the facility that opened its doors in 2007.

"When the kids come out here, they can play and run and ride their bikes," said Andy Bales, chief executive officer of the Union Rescue Mission.

Bales says Hope Gardens needs help.

"We just wanted to sound the alarm and say, 'Please help us. We need help to keep women and children safe in L.A.'"

Officials with the Union Rescue Mission say they have seen a 40-percent rise in people who need the mission's help, but they've seen a 20-percent drop in donations. Bales says that kind of math just doesn't add up.

"We need $2.8 million, and I can say we've raised $468,000," said Bales.

If the Union Rescue Mission is not able raise the $4 million it needs to keep Hope Gardens open, it might be forced to send some of the families back to the mission on Skid Row.

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