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Valleywide Focus

Quake Counseling Groups Seek Funds

April 02, 1994|KAY HWANGBO

Nineteen social-service agencies based in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys have applied for $2.6 million in federal grant money to continue the free counseling services they have been providing to earthquake victims.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to approve contracts with the agencies--many of them community-based groups--to provide individual counseling, support groups, training seminars for mental health professionals, earthquake literature and community outreach.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has allocated $11.6 million to the county Department of Mental Health, 6.3 million of which will go to private social-service organizations to provide counseling countywide.

Valley agencies that have submitted the largest wish lists include: the San Fernando Valley Partnership Against Substance Abuse--which includes 17 agencies--$1.1 million; Hermanidad Mexicana Nacional, $737,000, and the San Fernando Valley Community Medical Health Center, $100,000.

Some of the money would go toward reimbursing agencies for expenses they have already incurred in treating earthquake victims, while other funds would be used for longer-term counseling.

The list of hopeful contractors has been approved by Project Rebound, a program created by the county Department of Mental Health in 1992 to help disaster victims.

"We look for agencies that have already established community linkages with key organizations and leaders, because that will allow us a quick entry to serving the community's needs," said Project Rebound's Patricia Mendoza.

Augusto del Rio, director of Sherman Oaks-based SEPA Psychological Services, which is asking for $81,000, said his agency has provided counseling to more than 400 earthquake victims since Jan. 17.

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