Step Up envisions that all individuals, families, and communities affected by serious mental health issues, and persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness, will have the opportunity to experience recovery and a sense of belonging, and that permanent supportive housing will be available to everyone.
Step Up delivers compassionate support to people experiencing serious mental health issues, and persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness, to help them recover, stabilize, and integrate into the community. Through dynamic partnerships, we provide positive social and learning environments, vocational training, permanent supportive housing opportunities, and recovery services to empower individuals to cultivate lives of hope and dignity. We exercise innovative leadership and advocacy to increase public understanding, support, and acceptance of all people living with serious mental health issues.
Hope • Wellness • Voice & Choice • Respect • Collaborative Relationships
Step Up’s vision and mission are delivered to individuals, including adults, Transition-Age Youth (TAY) between the ages of 18-28 years, and Veterans, through the design of its three pillars of service:
Step Up uses the Housing First model to connect individuals experiencing chronic homelessness to housing. Housing First is a proven approach in which all individuals experiencing homelessness are believed to be housing-ready.
Step Up creates opportunities for social connectedness through member-driven support groups, movie nights, cooking, community dinners, and gardening. In addition, there are classes offered such as art, yoga, computer basics, and money management.
Step Up’s vocational mission is that everyone who wants to work should work. Services include: Pre-vocational training, resume building, community job seeking and placement, in-the-field job coaching, work experience, focused training, and peer support training.
Step Up, a 501(c)(3) organization, began providing psychosocial rehabilitation and support in 1984 when a woman sought urgently needed mental health services for her loved one. Finding none, and dissatisfied with the status quo, Susan Dempsay took action and started a center offering services that could not be found anywhere else.
Her vision included a supportive environment with productive activities, including art therapies, supported employment training, coping skills, service coordination, and social connectedness. Family members accessed help through support groups that met every month. Initially, Step Up served approximately 10 individuals a day and offered a limited number of services.
Staff began observing that many Step Up members were experiencing homelessness, which complicated and exacerbated their already complex needs. In 1994, Step Up’s first permanent supportive housing community with 36 units was built. Some of the original tenants are still living in their units today.
In 2021, Step Up had a over 1,850 permanent supportive housing units in developments and scattered sites in Santa Monica, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Orange, as well as in Monterey, San Bernardino, and Sacramento Counties, and the Southeastern US.
What started humbly in a warehouse shell in Santa Monica is now a thriving community agency with a staff of over 350 serving thousands of individuals annually — all free of charge.
You have the power to make a difference.
Imagine a world where everyone has a home, a job, and a supportive community. 100% of your donation will go towards connecting people to the help they need and deserve.
Provides one hour of work force development training to a Step Up member.
Provides one home visit from a psychiatrist or nurse for medication support.
Provides a Welcome Home Kit to furnish and outfit an apartment for a member.
1328 Second StreetSanta Monica, CA90401-1122
Phone: (310) 394-6889Fax: (310) 394-6883
Step Up Development1460 4th Street, Suite 200Santa Monica, CA 90401
Step Up on Second Street, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) with EIN 95-4109386
© 2017–2022 Step Up on Second Street, Inc., All Rights Reserved
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