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Social Services Center Proposed

March 17, 2000|MILO PEINEMANN

The creation of a one-stop center for a wide variety of social services is at the center of a new campaign by a local coalition of charity groups.

The proposed Simi Valley center would offer everything from domestic violence counseling to employment assistance to advice on how to obtain food.

Supporters of the program--called Under One Roof--are seeking $400,000 from the city for a down payment on a building they hope to open next year.

The organization is one of more than 25 programs seeking a share of nearly $800,000 in federal funds set aside for Simi Valley.

Such a large request is unusual, officials say. This year the nonprofit Castle Earth also sought a similar amount for a new home for its children's museum.

Under One Roof could be up and running by the end of the year if the City Council backs the project, said Julia Christian, vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church on Royal Avenue and a chief volunteer in the effort.

The Under One Roof program is backed by a wide range of community leaders and the heads of groups who say they could save costs and work together more if they shared one building. It's the main place the city should invest its money to prevent homelessness, according to a recent task force recommendation.

Mirrored after a program in Thousand Oaks involving 24 organizations, Under One Roof would house agencies now spread across the city.

Officials with Lutheran Social Services, Free Clinic of Simi Valley, Interface Children and Family Services and the Samaritan Center have all expressed interest in getting involved.

Anything that makes it easier for clients helps, said Colleen Duncan, director of Interface's domestic violence division.

The first hearings for this year's round of Community Development Block Grants will be held during the City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 27 at 2929 Tapo Canyon Road. The application deadline for the grants has already passed. For more information, call (805) 583-6700.

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