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Housing First, established by Dr. Sam Tsemberis, is a model which roots permanent supportive housing as a foundation of recovery for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, mental health conditions, and addictions. Traditionally, these individuals have lived in a cycle of surviving on the street, being admitted to hospitals, shelters, or jails and then going back to the street. The stress of surviving each day in this cycle puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the individual’s psychiatric and physical health. “Living in the street,” one client said, “It makes you crazy.”
Instead, Housing First advocates the provision of client-preferred services based on the premise that individuals know what is best for themselves, that services are to be directed by an individual’s self-determined goals. The number one supportive service requested by Step Up members is housing. Not a pill, a program, or a protocol, but a place to live.
Step Up owns and operates 264 units of innovative, community-based permanent supportive housing across 10 developments in Los Angeles County. All of Step Up permanent supportive home developments include on-site residential managers, life-skills coordinators, and connection to Step Up or other mental health service providers for support services. Each unit comes with a kitchenette, full bathroom, and living space. In every community in which it operates, Step Up is committed to being a good neighbor.
Step Up’s very first facility which opened in 1994 with 36 units.single room occupancy (SRO) permanent supportive housing project for adults experiencing mental health conditions and homelessness. Major funding provided by the City of Santa Monica, Step Up on has served as the service coordinator, mental health provider, and property manager. On the ground floor is nationally recognized psycho-social rehabilitation center and Fresh Start Cafe.
The National Winner of the 2015 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award, Step Up on Fifth is located in a vibrant area just three blocks from Step Up on Second. There are 46 units serving adults and young people.
Major supporters of this $18 million project include: tax credit funding of $7.5 million; and City of Santa Monica support of $7.1 million; Step Up’s own $2.5 million capital campaign with generous support provided by a lead gift from the George Hoag Family Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, The Weingart Foundation, and The Ahmanson Foundation.
These 8 units of Daniel’s Village, which opened in 2009, are specifically designed for young adults experiencing homelessness and the initial symptoms of mental health conditions. This project was a major rehab of a 1940’s hotel located on the original Route 66.
Step Up’s award-winning community, the Kaufmann Apartments at Step Up on Colorado, opened in 2015, ending homelessness for 32 of Santa Monica’s most vulnerable neighbors.
12 units for individuals who have experienced homelessness and mental health conditions but require less intensive onsite support. The hope is to transfer a couple of tenants who have had long-term success in PSH to this community in order to create vacancies for more vulnerable individuals at other Step Up communities.
Opened in 2013, with 34 units, with 7 of these units reserved for transitional age youth. With initial funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and a private contribution by Aileen Getty, Step Up on Vine represents Step Up’s expansion of its “housing first” model outside of the Santa Monica area to Hollywood.
Through a collaboration between Step Up and Aileen Getty, the Hollywood Studio Inn was purchased in early November 2010 with 32 units for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health conditions in Hollywood. Six units are reserved for TAY. Comprehensive supportive services are provided by both live-in and on-site supportive services staff.
Through another successful collaboration between Step Up and Aileen Getty, 10 units for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health conditions in Hollywood.
Located on the Veterans Affairs Campus in West LA north of Wilshire, these 54 units are for Veterans who were experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health conditions. Step Up’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) team coordinators to assist with services.
Step Up also provides permanent supportive housing and services at multiple scattered sites across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Step Up’s housing team works with property management companies and landlords who are willing to engage with Step Up to rent to the homeless population. Once an individual is in housing, service teams provide supportive case management services to ensure success. These services include assisting in securing public benefits (Social Security income, food stamps, etc.), counseling, substance use recovery support and linking to community resources.
Over the last year, Step Up is bringing its expertise national, partnering with developers, local governments, private foundations and service providers in the Southeastern U.S. to provide permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in communities there.
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