May is Mental Health Month!

Step Up and Daniel's Places Provides:

Permanent Supportive Housing

Vocational Training and Placement

Supportive Services

Our Staff

A letter from the President

Reflecting back on 2013, it has been a unique year with a number of significant successes.

Step Up took big steps in 2013. In Hollywood, we opened Step Up on Vine with a Gala attended by both President Clinton and Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. A second property, Michael’s Village is under renovations and will be opening soon. Both of these new Step Up  communities serve individuals who are the most chronically homeless and experiencing mental health issues on the streets of Hollywood. We owe great thanks to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and the Hilton Foundation for their support of these efforts. The Hollywood street outreach teams are active in engaging our most vulnerable neighbors with a new special emphasis on Transitional Aged Youth. None of this would be possible without the great support of our wonderful friend and supporter, Aileen Getty.

September again had my highlight of the year (or rather decade) with my fourth participation in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York. Our CGI Commitment to Action, presented on stage by President Clinton himself in 2010, is nearing completion as we are creating 200 units of permanent supportive housing in Hollywood by 2014. So these days, we are really beginning to think about what our next CGI Commitment to Action will be now that we are impacting Santa Monica, Hollywood, and beyond.

I am grateful for the support of our many partners – foundations and corporate and individual donors, old and new. We are particularly grateful to The Weingart Foundation for their ongoing support and commitment. Thanks also to the City of Santa Monica, whose support allowed us to acquired our fourth property on 520 Colorado Blvd., within eyesight from Step Up on Fifth. In 2015, we plan to turn this property into 36 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals who are most chronically homeless and experiencing mental health issues on the streets of Santa Monica, in honor of The Kaufmann family.

We are so grateful for the support of many.

— Tod Lipka


Step Up Executive Team

Tod Lipka

President and Chief Executive Officer

Tod Lipka

Tod Lipka holds a M.P.A. degree and a M.S. from USC. With nearly 30 years in managing nonprofits, Mr. Lipka is a seasoned executive.  He has been President and CEO of Step Up since 2001.  In that time, Step Up has tripled its breadth of service operation and expanded from one supportive housing project to eight projects.  He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and Step Up’s work was recognized and endorsed personally by President Clinton in 2010 and 2013 as well as recognition by Kobe Bryant and the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.
contact Tod Lipka


Barbara Bloom

Chief Operations Officer

Barbara Bloom, LCSW

As a seasoned mental health clinician, Ms. Barbara Bloom has over 15 years experience working in mental health settings. Ms. Bloom, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is the Chief Operating Officer of Step Up and oversees clinical programs and operations of Step Up including Daniel’s Place. A member of the Executive Management Team, her responsibilities range from program development and planning, the hiring and supervision of Program Managers and Directors who oversee staff related to these programs (including staff psychiatrists) as well as related reporting procedures required for all programs. Ms. Bloom earned her B.A. at UCLA and her Master of Social Work at USC; she is also an Accredited Licensed Clinical Supervisor – for both students and interns earning hours for M.S.W. and M.F.T. and was an adjunct professor at USC School of Social Welfare.
contact Barbara Bloom


WP-Staff Kim CarsonChief Financial Officer

Kim Carson

Kim Carson, Chief Financial Officer, directs all aspects of Step Up’s accounting and support activities: accounting; human resources; money management; property accounting; facilities management; and IT. Carson is responsible for the financial stability of the agency including assembling the agency’s annual budget, preparing annual contract reporting, coordinating the annual independent audit, as well as fiscal monitoring activity with government contracts and grant funders. With more than 20 years of experience in accounting/finance, oversight of large government grants, agency strategic planning, and operations management, Carson oversees a staff of 12 individuals serving Step Up and Daniel’s Places, and staffs the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors. Carson holds a BS degree in Accounting from Loyola Marymount University.
contact Kim Carson


Carolyn Baker

Vice President of Community Development

Carolyn Baker, M.Ed.

Carolyn L. Baker, is Vice President of Community Development at Step Up and holds a M. Ed. in Organizational Development. As a Commitment-Maker within the Clinton Global Initiative for Step Up, Baker is part of the Executive team that acquires, develops, and operates permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health issues on the streets of Los Angeles.  In her 25+ year nonprofit career, Baker has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for important safety net agencies. Baker’s mantra is: “it’s the role of a community to heal and sustain ALL of its members.”
contact Carolyn Baker


Vice President of Vocational Services

Amy Stone

Amy Stone has been with Step Up since 2004. She has 20 of years experience working in social services setting combined with an extensive background in food services, corporate restaurant training, and management. Amy attended Western Washington University and has a degree in Sociology/Criminology. At Step Up Amy oversees all Vocational services including Fresh Start Market & Catering, the Served Meals Program, Job Training and Community Employment Development.
contact Amy Stone


Aaron Criswell

Step Up Program Director

Aaron Criswell, M.A.

Mr. Criswell has been the Program Director at Step Up for one year and the Team Leader of the Case Management Team at Step Up on Second for 7 years. As such, he is responsible for overseeing the Case Management and Member Services staff. Mr. Criswell also manages three City of Santa Monica contracts, including those for Dual Diagnosis and Shelter Plus Care Housing Assistance. Mr. Criswell received his M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky, and he is a Registered Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner. Aaron comes to Step Up on Second after having been an integral team member of Portals Mental Health Rehabilitation Services, Boulder County Behavioral Health Program, Portals Partners, Canyon Acres Residential Center, and Mental Health Corporation of Denver, Colorado.
contact Aaron Criswell

each year we serve over 1,200 individuals
experiencing mental health issues.

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