Step up on Second.org mission statement:
Step Up on Second involves individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in developing opportunities to reintegrate into the community. Step Up is dedicated to long-term support of people in recovery and their families, offering quality housing, educational, social and work experiences. Step Up is committed to increasing public understanding and acceptance of mental illness.
SANTA MONICA, CA: Step Up On Second, a model program offering housing and comprehensive services to the mentally ill, has announced a gift of $750,000 from the Annenberg Foundation to fund the construction of its new facility, Step Up on Fifth. The gift, the largest from a private foundation in Step Up’s history, brings Step Up closer to meeting the critical need for housing Santa Monica’s homeless mentally ill.
The Annenberg Foundation joins the George W. Hoag Family Foundation, which provided a lead gift of $500,000 late last year to make the dream of building additional housing units on Santa Monica’s Fifth Street a reality. Other notable gifts recently received include a $400,000 grant from the Weingart Foundation and a $300,000 gift from the Ahmanson Foundation. In addition, $14.6 million has been committed to the project from the City of Santa Monica and the State of California Tax Credit Allocation.
“Step Up on Fifth is helping to solve a critical problem that affects the entire community,” says Leonard Aube, Managing Director of the Annenberg Foundation. “This new facility will expand the reach of Step Up, giving more people who are homeless and suffer from mental illness a safe and well-managed place to call home.”
“As a part of this community we are well aware of the need for mental health services and the issues of limited capacity for housing,” says Chuck Smith, Executive Director of the Hoag Family Foundation. “Having been involved with Step Up for several years now, we’ve seen firsthand what a wonderful job they do with this client base. We believe that the Step Up on Fifth campaign serves a significant community need and is a project that is both attainable and sustainable."
The waiting list for permanent, supportive housing at Step Up On Second is currently three to five years long. Step Up on Fifth will provide additional housing in a five-story residential apartment building containing 46 single-room occupancy (SRO) units on an existing 50’ x 15‘ parking lot.
The project will provide homes for individuals living with persistent and chronic mental illness. Eighteen units are designated for individuals who are homeless and mentally ill and an additional 15 units will be for those who are mentally ill and have been homeless for one year or more. The project will cover a total of 23,000 square feet on five floors.
Step Up on Fifth will be located at 1548 Fifth St. in downtown Santa Monica, close to Step Up on Second’s main facility. Construction on Step Up on Fifth began March 1, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for March 14. The facility will be completed in 2009.
“This support means that Step Up on Fifth will be a home for many years to those who today are living on our local streets because of their mental illness,” says Tod Lipka, CEO for Step Up on Second. “We are so thankful to have the support of so many for the capital campaign for Step Up on Fifth. With these generous gifts, we have exceeded the goal of the capital campaign, originally $2 million, by $600,000 to date.”
For the past 20 years, Step Up has been a recognized leader of services to individuals with mental illness in Santa Monica. Step Up provides free comprehensive support to the mentally ill and has demonstrated that it is part of the solution in the Santa Monica community.
“If it weren’t for Step Up I would not know where I would be. They are my family and I am so grateful for the help I have received from them, when I had no where left to turn,” a Step Up participant says.
Step Up has operated an existing 36-unit SRO residential apartment building at Step Up’s Second St. location for the past ten years and has helped hundreds of others find permanent housing throughout Los Angeles County. Step Up on Second is a major contributor to the Santa Monica community working tirelessly since 1984 to provide help, hope and a home to those in our community who have no where left to turn. “Housing is the cornerstone of stability for all of us, including individuals who have a mental disorder. Everyone deserves a place to call home,” says Lipka.