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Step Up | Education & Advocacy
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Education & Advocacy

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Step Up, and its transitional aged youth programs Daniel’s Places, are in a unique position to engage with key policymakers and constituencies to educate and advocate for effective mental health and housing policies and sustainable resource commitments at the County, State, and Federal levels of government. As innovators and thought leaders, Step Up and Daniel’s Places educate and advocate directly on behalf of the individuals they serve through sharing powerful personal stories from the field, increasing awareness and sharing best practices in the area of mental health, chronic homelessness, and permanent supportive housing. Education and Advocacy Goals

  • Position Step Up and Daniel’s Places as national leaders on mental health and housing policy issues for adults and transitional aged youth.
  • Strengthen the visibility of Step Up and Daniel’s Places among U.S. government officials and potential partners and funders.
  • Educate elected officials about Step Up and Daniel’s Places strategies around mental health and housing policy issues.
  • Promote best and next practices in areas central to the vision and mission of Step Up and Daniel’s Places.
  • Provide education and support to elected officials currently advocating for mental health and housing policy issues.
  • Impact U.S. funding for mental health and housing policy issues.



Step Up CEO Tod Lipka (far right), and Step Up Board member and Public Policy Committee member Nancy Carter (second from right) visit with CA Assembly member Ed Chau, along with Home for Good and Los Angeles Chamber teams.





WP Partnerships_resized3Education and Advocacy Activities Tod Lipka participated in the “Proven Practices conference to end homelessness hosted at Loma Linda University with Step Up Board member, Philip Mangano as keynote speaker. The collaborative work of the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE) Team of San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Office, District Supervisors James Ramos and Josie Gonsalez, and numerous others, invited front-line Los Angeles area service providers to share solutions in panel discussions on the experience of homelessness for veterans, for women, mental health issues, & employment.


WP 04_2015 Tod BH4Tod Lipka also gave an update to the City of Beverly Hills Human Relations Commission (left) on how Step Up’s street outreach and engagement team of Kevin & Annie, are ending homelessness in Beverly Hills through its Changing Lives and Sharing Places (CLASP) program.



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A Step Up delegation met with The Honorable Ted Lieu, Senator, 28th Senate District, to introduce the variety of mental health services offered at Step Up, as well as engage in an extensive conversation on his bill SB 593, “Pay for Success”. Step Up endorses this innovative funding mechanism as a means to scale up financing of permanent supportive housing units sufficient for those in greatest need where there is a clear cost benefit. We know that by housing those in greatest need, their utilization of the most expensive government systems of care, decreases. Sen. Lieu shared how part of his motivation for the bill was conversations with just such a constituent, struggling to maintain his housing and at-risk of homelessness. Step Up is signing on in support of SB 593, and will be providing Sen. Lieu with cost-benefit studies on Housing First, the evidence-based model associated with “Pay for Success”.

Above left to right: Board members Fernando Torres-Gil, Philip Mangano, and Les Jones, met with CA State Senator Ted Lieu, along with Carolyn Baker and Tod Lipka on SB 593.


Step Up participated in the Next Practices Colloquy held at USC, and presented by the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness. Les Jones was a presenter, and also helped inaugurate the LES Talks. The Colloquy focused on positioning attendees for ENDING chronic homelessness for individuals with mental health issues. Implications of upcoming policies & resources, and fresh innovations in PSH were explored – all with the intent of scaling what is already known to work and discovering what may work in the future.

Above left to right: Pioneering presenters Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Director, Homeless Hub (Canadian Homelessness Research Network); Philip Mangano, Pres. & CEO, the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness; and Dr. Sam Tsemberis, Founder & CEO, Pathways to Housing, New York. Our goal is to advance their great work to an unprecedented scale!


WP DC Group w Ryan crop2A Step Up delegation visited Washington DC May 6-9, bringing education about and analysis of our cost-effective Housing First model to national leaders and policy makers. Since July 1, 2013, fifty seven individuals who were chronically homeless or homeless and experiencing mental health issues now reside in Step Up’s permanent supportive housing. Step Up has a 90% retention of individuals in supportive housing after 12 months. This proven model is a 40% cost savings to taxpayers.

Above left to right: Lindsay Gilchrist, Tod Lipka, Les Jones, Carolyn Baker, and Philip Mangano are shown with Rep. Paul Ryan after a highly engaged and productive meeting on pertinent mental health issues now in discussion on Capital Hill. During the two and a half day visit to DC, the Step Up delegation had twenty three appointments – seven with members of Congress – and staff and like-minded NGO’s.

An Important Message from Step Up

Dear Supporters, Volunteers and Trusted Community Partners,

We wanted to take a moment to let you know Step Up is actively monitoring the COVID-19 status in the communities we work. We are relieved to report that as of this writing, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the Step Up Community. Step Up is taking measures to both protect employees' health and welfare, and to advance its critical mission to serve its most at-risk members. During this time, members will continue to need our support and we expect to continue to provide the exemplary level of support and services we have become known for in our community.

In an abundance of caution, Step Up is taking the following immediate steps to curtail the spread of the virus and to keep its staff, members and volunteers as safe and as healthy as possible during this period of unknown impact:

  • All volunteer activities at all sites are halted for a minimum of two weeks.
  • Managers are empowered to work with staff to curtail activities that may put them or members at risk. This includes the possibility of remote work when feasible, phone or telehealth meetings with members as necessary, avoiding transporting members in personal or company vehicles - the advancement of our mission is paramount;
  • Program staff will be trained on how to utilize company phone apps to effectively communicate with members and each other as necessary;
  • We have asked staff if they or an immediate family member is experiencing flu-like symptoms, to not report to any office location, contact their manager on how to proceed, and seek medical attention immediately.

While many public and private spaces have curtailed operations for the time being, Step Up will remain operational and will continue serving its clients. Again, it is important to note that NO ONE IN THE STEP UP COMMUNITY HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. Our goal is to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Please contact us by email or phone before coming to one of our locations. Support from our community is especially vital now as operations are re-aligned to adhere to our mission while keeping staff, members and volunteers safe. Please consider making a donation as we work through this difficult time. Your contributions in any amount ensure that Step Up will continue serving our most vulnerable neighbors, who are especially vulnerable during this community health crisis. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

Stay safe and healthy,
Tod Lipka
President & CEO