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Westside Digest

Santa Monica : $380,000 to Aid Homeless

March 25, 1993

The city will contribute $380,000 to a local social service agency in its efforts to turn an abandoned convalescent home in the Pico neighborhood into a place that helps homeless people get back on their feet.

The Ocean Park Community Center won a $2.8-million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a 55-bed transitional housing facility at 1447 16th St.

The city contribution, already earmarked in the budget for transitional housing, will help the center to raise the matching funds necessary to secure the entire grant.

Potential residents will be carefully screened at the agency's drop-in center at 7th Street and Colorado Avenue, Executive Director Vivian Rothstein said. The program is intended for people who want to begin earning a living, she said.

"This is not a detox or treatment program," she said. "It's a socialization program."

Plans call for 24-hour staffing, job training, professional counseling, support groups and a literacy program. Rehabilitation of the facility should begin in the spring, and the program, called Turning Point Transitional Housing, may open as early as spring of 1994.

The center plans to form an advisory committee including residents in order to be responsive to the neighborhood, Rothstein said.

Council members unanimously approved the award at a meeting Tuesday.

"This program will actually take people off the street and turn them into productive members of society," Councilman Kelly Olsen said.

Transitional housing was identified in a 1991 report by a city-appointed task force as a way to take the homeless problem.

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