A Route 66-era motel on Santa Monica Boulevard will become eight permanent supportive housing units for participants of the Daniel’s Place project of Step Up on Second, the 20-year-old nonprofit that provides services to persons with mental illness in Santa Monica.
At a November 13 dedication reception at the site, Step Up CEO Tod Lipka said that the planned renovation, due to be completed in fall 2008, will give the organization 54 new units coming on line next year, including the new 46-unit project on 5th Street now under construction.
The building is the former Village Motel at 2624 Santa Monica Boulevard, built in 1948, which Lipka described as the “last [presumably meaning westernmost remaining] motel on Route 66.” Step Up gained ownership of the building last month, and it will begin renovations in spring 2008. The $2.4 million project is being funded by Step Up, the City of Santa Monica, and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Joining Lipka in offering remarks to the Step Up families, donors, and City officials were Larry Kruger, who chairs the Step Up board, Ed Edelman, the City’s Special Representative for Homeless Initiatives and namesake of the County’s Edelman Mental Health Center, and Andy Agle, the City’s Director of Housing and Economic Development.
The project will be known as Daniel’s Village, borrowing from the name of the motel and the name of Step Up’s Daniel’s Place service program, itself named in honor of Daniel Greenberg (1959-1997), a scholar, athlete, actor, humanitarian, and outreach worker at Step Up on Second and member of the Step Up Board of Directors.
“We are particularly targeting young adults at a formative time in their life when the illness is an obstacle,” says Lipka. “This is when they are learning life skills and independent living skills – key factors that can lead to a life of greater self sufficiency. In general, our whole goal and focus with Daniel’s Village is early intervention, support, and education in hopes of reducing the likelihood of early symptoms and severe illness that so often occurs and then becomes a lifelong struggle.”
Daniel’s Village will provide fully permanent supportive housing for young people ages 18 to 28 who are experiencing the early stages of mental illness. It will offer a comprehensive program including support services, training, socialization, employment assistance, and an onsite resident manager. Prospective residents will be referred to Daniel’s Village from Daniel’s Place, which is geared toward the same age group.