EDITOR'S NOTE: Multimedia journalist Aziza Shuler spoke with Jean Trebek, widow of Alex Trebek, and two locals about the new shelter. Click the arrow above to watch the video.
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The 107-bed “A Bridge Home” shelter, named for Alex Trebek, opened in Northridge Thursday, and people can schedule tours of the facility through Sunday.
The Trebek Center was named for the late “Jeopardy!” host because he and his wife were major supporters of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, which operates the shelter. Formerly a 23,000-square-foot roller rink called Skateland, Hope of the Valley purchased the land for $7 million after raising $2 million for the down payment, in large part through a $500,000 donation from Trebek and his wife, Jean, before Trebek died in November, according to Hope of the Valley.
A major portion of the funding was also secured through the city’s “A Bridge Home” initiative, which launched in 2018 to develop interim shelter in an effort to quickly get people off the streets. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who launched the initiative, and Councilman John Lee, who represents Northridge in the Los Angeles City Council, joined Hope of the Valley and Jean Trebek for a grand opening of the Trebek Center Thursday morning.
"The Trebek Center will go a long way towards improving the city's homelessness crisis. I am delighted to work with Hope of the Valley, the Trebek Center's operator, who has a track record of getting people off the street and into safe housing and supportive services," said Lee. "I will continue to fight for solutions such as the Trebek Center that provide proven results for people experiencing homelessness in the San Fernando Valley."
According to Hope of the Valley’s website, Alex Trebek called the mission’s founder and CEO Ken Craft and said he wanted to see a new shelter that the mission was building in North Hollywood.
“Little did I know that that brief introduction and conversation would lead to a friendship with Alex Trebek, the Host of “Jeopardy!” a friendship that unfortunately ended way too soon,” Craft said in a statement on Hope of the Valley’s website.
Trebek visited two of Hope of the Valley’s shelters, as well as its navigation center, and donated to the mission, allowing it to purchase the skate rink.
“A very special bond was created between Alex and the Mission. His legacy lives on in the life of each person that finds hope and refuge in our doors,” Craft said.
People can visit the shelter Friday through Sunday before it opens its doors to residents.
Tours are available between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
People can sign up here.