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Part of Step Up’s CGI Commitment to Action “Sustainably Ending Homelessness in Hollywood” is to report on progress to date. As I started to write the CGI Progress Report today, my first and foremost thought was to recognize the work of cross-sector local champions, and the momentum sparked by the releasing of Opening Doors, the federal plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness in the United States. Because of everyone’s work, and also the work of those upon whose sholders we all stand, Step Up has acquired, and is developing, three permanent supportive housing projects in Hollywood, with total commitments to date of $26.5 million. The first project, Step Up on Vine, has broken ground and the renovation of this formerly blighted property is underway. It will yield 34 units of permanent supportive housing in Hollywood by 12/30/12. Shangri La Construction, another CGI member and one of Step Up’s partners, is completing this construction. Eight units are designated for transitional aged youth (TAY), the rest for adults, all chronically homeless. The project will be LEED-certified. The second project is Michael’s Village and is a motel that Step Up acquired about a year ago. A portion of the motel has been renovated and is now home to seven formerly chronically homeless individuals who are affected by mental illness. Step Up is currently working on raising the additional $1.03 million needed to start the renovation on the rest of the property. Six of these units are also designated for chronically homeless TAY and the rest of the units are for chronically homeless adults. When the project is completed, it will yield 32 units of permanent supportive housing in Hollywood. A third project, The Tammy, is an apartment building that Step Up acquired late 2011 and has 10 units of permanent supportive housing. Tenants are expected to move in by 5/30/12. In addition to home units underway and individuals housed are the activities of Step Up’s Street Outreach teams actively in place in Hollywood. Step Up’s street teams have engaged and enrolled 38 chronically homeless individuals affected by mental illness. With respect and dignity, Step Up’s Street Outreach teams develop a trusting relationship with the individual and soon are able offer the variety of intensive contacts they may need. Another important milestone in “Step Up on Second: Sustainably Ending Homelessness” commitment is the creation of strategic partnerships with like-minded community partners from the nonprofit sector, public and private sectors, the faith community, philanthropy, labor, and individual community members in the Los Angeles area. As mentioned, Step Up is partnering with Shangri La Construction, who is the general contractor for Step Up on Vine. The agency has also partnered with Global Philanthropy Group (GPG), another CGI partner that has taken Step Up on as a pro bono client. Through GPG support, the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation is now partnered with Step Up on Second, teaming up to address youth homelessness in Hollywood. This partnership will soon be launching its high impact campaign particularly in the social media. Step Up is also in very strong collaboration with United Ways’ Home for Good Initiative – ending chronic and veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County. This action plan outlines the critical systems change needed to end chronic homelessness. Step Up partnered with Home for Good to bring Kobe Bryant as Chair of the 2012 HomeWalk – United Way’s annual fundraising event to end homelessness in LA – thus dramatically increasing awareness and mobilizing community participation. As a result of this collaboration, Renee White Fraser, Ph.D., Fraser Communications, Inc., and Task Force Co-Chair of Home for Good Initiative, has become a new strategic partner in Step Up’s CGI Commitment to Action this year. Step Up’s CGI partnership with Fraser Communication, Inc. raises the commitment’s bar on innovation, as the company is the 2011 Agency of the Year – Digital Media award by thinkLA. Step Up is very proud of the progress on its Commitment to Action. The home units that Step Up is bringing online provide not only the stability that housing brings, but access to a rich array of ongoing supportive services and the human relationships we all need to thrive. An important achievement is the recognition that permanent supportive housing is the critical proven solution to ending chronic homelessness. It is shown to be 40% less costly to US taxpayers in terms of first responders, high cost crisis health care, incarcerations, etc. Or 88% of individuals housed through this model stay off the streets. Another stand out milestone is the creation of the Funders Collaborative – public and private funders in the Los Angeles area who are collaborating to align consolidating funding for permanent supportive housing. It’s wonderful to be part of a community united to end chronic and veteran homelessness by creating increased impact and reduced costs! This is ALL of our progress report!
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