Ten community service agencies consolidated part of their West Valley operations under the same roof Thursday as Los Angeles city officials and the United Way opened a new counseling center in Canoga Park.
Trained counselors who will be tenants of the $950,000 center at 6918 Canoga Ave. will range from experts in speech and hearing difficulties to those who handle immigration problems and family disputes.
The 8,000-square-foot, two-story facility replaces smaller office spaces rented by United Way-supported groups in Canoga Park for the past 12 years.
Grant From HUD
The counseling center was financed by a $500,000 federal Housing and Urban Development grant administered by the city and a $450,000 allocation from United Way.
West Valley-area City Councilwoman Joy Picus told about 100 persons on hand for dedication ceremonies that, although her colleagues on the council "tend to look at the West Valley as a privileged area . . . there is a great need here."
Mayor Tom Bradley, who helped cut a ribbon opening the center, characterized it as a "celebration of survival," explaining that Picus' effort to convince the City Council to approve the spending was only the start of difficulties that delayed construction of the new building. Problems ranged from an accident that sidelined United Way architect Margot Siegel before blueprints were completed to financial problems experienced by the building's contractor, according to United Way officials.
The center's community meeting room was dedicated to Charles A. Pollak, a retired Sylmar chemical company owner who worked as a volunteer during the building's planning and construction.
Agencies that will provide counselors at the center are the Catholic Social Service, Children's Speech and Hearing Center, El Nido Services, Family Services of Los Angeles, Haven Hills battered women's shelter, International Institute of Los Angeles, Jewish Big Brothers, Jewish Family Service, Salvation Army Family Service and the Volunteer Center.