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Step Up envisions that all individuals, families, and communities affected by serious mental health issues, and persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness, will have the opportunity to experience recovery and a sense of belonging, and that permanent supportive housing will be available to everyone.
Step Up delivers compassionate support to people experiencing serious mental health issues, and persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness, to help them recover, stabilize, and integrate into the community. Through dynamic partnerships, we provide positive social and learning environments, vocational training, permanent supportive housing opportunities, and recovery services to empower individuals to cultivate lives of hope and dignity. We exercise innovative leadership and advocacy to increase public understanding, support, and acceptance of all people living with serious mental health issues.
Mental health issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression are real, biologically-based conditions that are no one’s fault. The courageous individuals we serve are part of a sobering national picture: 50% of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness also experience mental health issues.
Step Up, a 501(c)3 organization, began providing psychosocial rehabilitation and support in 1984, when a woman’s deep love for a family member caused her to take action and create Step Up on Second. Searching for services and finding very few, founder Susan Dempsay had no choice but to start a center offering services that could not be found anywhere else.
Her vision included a supportive environment with productive activities, including art therapies, supported employment training, coping skills, service coordination, and social connectedness. Family members accessed help through support groups that met every month. Initially, Step Up served approximately 10 individuals a day and offered a limited number of services.
What started humbly in a warehouse shell in Santa Monica is now a thriving community agency serving over 1,800 individuals annually and providing 200 permanent supportive housing units at Step Up on Second, Step Up on Fifth, Step Up on Colorado, Daniel’s Village, Step Up on Vine, Michael’s Village, and The Tammy. Today, over 100 individuals are seen daily and offer over 22 different programs address the issues of the entire individual and provide a continuum of care, all free of charge.
Step Up’s vision and mission are delivered to individuals, including adults, Transitional Age Youth (TAY) between the ages of 16-28 years, and Veterans, through the design of its three pillars of service:
Member-driven supportive services
Employment training and placement opportunities
Permanent Supportive Housing
Learn more about the programs and services that Step Up provides…