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Community News: Southwest

CRENSHAW : Homeless Advocacy Group Finds a Home

March 07, 1993|ERIN J. AUBRY

Bondage Busters, a homeless advocacy group which was itself homeless for the last three months, has acquired property to house the program, which offers counseling, vocational training and transitional housing.

The nonprofit group operated out of the Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce office until November, when the Rev. Charles Hudson, Bondage Busters founder, and Craig Sasser, the chamber's executive director, decided that the nature and scope of the program was not appropriate for the small business office.

Robert Wilson, owner of the property at 4433 Crenshaw Blvd., contacted Hudson in February and offered to assume maintenance and utilities costs for at least six months and delay payment on the 2,444-square-foot strip center.

"Yes, there's a certain amount of risk involved, but the organization really needs community support," said Wilson, who acquired the property last May. "It's a great cause. "

In addition to putting up $25,000 for building improvements, Wilson signed the deed over to Hudson last week. Wilson, however, will continue to receive income generated by a pawnshop and six apartments on the same site, --which he said will be sufficient until Hudson begins payments on the $1.4-million property. After Hudson begins payments, the properties will be available for use as Bondage Busters sees fit, Wilson said.

The two-level property has seven offices and 15 additional rooms, which will be used for administrative offices, transitional housing, counseling, and classrooms. The apartments, which are currently occupied, will eventually be used for transitional housing.

Hudson is working with the Abe Friedman Occupational Center, a Downtown adult education and vocational site, and the Los Angeles Unified School District to contract for at least two teachers for basic computer and retail-checking classes. Instruction in AIDS prevention and prenatal care will also be offered. The property is undergoing minor repairs and is scheduled to open this month.

Although Hudson said he and his volunteer staff will have to work hard to generate private and federal funds to pay Wilson, he nonetheless feels fortunate. "Three months ago I had nowhere at all, and now we have this," Hudson said. "God is really working with me on this one."

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