Step Up on Second, an established nationally-recognized organization located in the heart of Santa Monica, unveiled its latest project, Step Up on Fifth, a residential apartment complex for the homeless who have chronic mental illness.Step Up on Second hosted a gathering last week, Thursday, March 26, attended by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser, along with other community officials, donors, volunteers, staff members, and residents, to celebrate Step Up on Fifth and its residents.Step Up on Fifth is providing homes for about 50 residents, who had been living on the streets of Santa Monica. All residents are also involved in the Step Up on Second program, which assists the mentaly ill homeless with support groups, counseling, computer courses, and rehabilitation while gradually being reintroduced to society.“Residents living here will now have a sense of community and support,” said Tod Lipka, President and CEO of Step Up on Second. “Being homeless can consume someone completely and being able to provide a roof over someone’s head can make a world of difference.” Tours of the complex were provided by Step Up staff members, Designed by the architect, Pugh + Scarpa, the E-Shaped building is a five-story, 44 studio unit complex. Each unit includes a microwave, refrigerator and private bathrooms. The complex also includes two onsite manager’s units, community kitchen/multipurpose rooms located centrally on each floor, with a quad area and parking for 23 vehicles. Pugh + Scarpa designed the building to accommodate the housing and social needs of the residents.“I’m just so lucky to be living here and have Step Up,” said John, a Step Up on Fifth resident. “I have lived in so many places and I have never felt I had someone to talk to until now. There is always someone here to guide you. They have saved me.”For more than 20 years Step Up on Second has been a leader in providing services to individuals who have a mental illness. The organization’s nationally-recognized program focuses on long-term strategies and daily support services to help Step up members. For additional information please visit www.stepuponsecond.org.
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