Established by Dr. Sam Tsemberis, Housing First is a model that roots permanent supportive housing as a foundation of recovery for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, mental health conditions, and addictions. Traditionally, these individuals have lived in a cycle of surviving on the street, being admitted to hospitals, shelters, or jails and then going back to the street. The stress of surviving each day in this cycle puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the individual’s psychiatric and physical health. “Living in the street,” one client said, “It makes you crazy.”
Instead, Housing First advocates for the provision of client-preferred services based on the premise that individuals are the best judges of their own needs and should determine their own goals. The number one supportive service requested by Step Up members is housing. Not a pill, a program, or a protocol, but a place to live.
Step Up provides innovative, community-based permanent supportive housing and comprehensive case management services via developments and scattered site units throughout California, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. In total, this life-changing supportive housing has been provided to more than 2,500 individuals who experienced serious mental health conditions and chronic homelessness.
Of those housed, Step Up consistently sees more than 97% remain in housing one year later.
Step Up also houses hundreds of individuals in individual apartments where landlords accept housing vouchers. Step Up’s housing team works with property management companies and landlords who are willing to engage with Step Up to rent to individuals experiencing homelessness. These apartments also qualify as permanent supportive housing as the staff provides member-driven services and case management support to ensure long-term housing retention. These services include assisting in securing public benefits (Social Security, food stamps, etc.), counseling, substance use recovery support, and linking to community resources.
Step Up’s very first facility which opened in 1994 with 36 units.single room occupancy (SRO) permanent supportive housing project for adults experiencing mental health conditions and homelessness. Major funding provided by the City of Santa Monica, Step Up has served as the service coordinator, mental health provider, and property manager. On the ground floor is nationally recognized psycho-social rehabilitation center and Fresh Start Cafe.
The National Winner of the 2015 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award, Step Up on Fifth is located in a vibrant area just three blocks from Step Up on Second. There are 46 units serving adults and young people.
Major supporters of this $18 million project include: tax credit funding of $7.5 million; and City of Santa Monica support of $7.1 million; Step Up’s own $2.5 million capital campaign with generous support provided by a lead gift from the George Hoag Family Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, The Weingart Foundation, and The Ahmanson Foundation.
These 8 units of Daniel’s Village, which opened in 2009, are specifically designed for young adults experiencing homelessness and the initial symptoms of mental health conditions. This project was a major rehab of a 1940’s hotel located on the original Route 66.
Step Up’s award-winning community, the Kaufmann Apartments at Step Up on Colorado, opened in 2015, ending homelessness for 32 of Santa Monica’s most vulnerable neighbors.
12 units for individuals who have experienced homelessness and mental health conditions but require less intensive onsite support. The hope is to transfer a couple of tenants who have had long-term success in PSH to this community in order to create vacancies for more vulnerable individuals at other Step Up communities.
Opened in 2013, with 34 units. Seven of these units are reserved for transition-age youth. With initial funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, a private contribution by Aileen Getty, and in partnership with Shangri-La Construction, Step Up on Vine was converted from a hotel into permanent supportive housing. It represents Step Up’s expansion of its “housing first” model outside of the Santa Monica area and into Hollywood.
Through a collaboration between Step Up and Aileen Getty, the Hollywood Studio Inn was purchased in early November 2010 with 32 units for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health conditions in Hollywood. Six units are reserved for TAY. Comprehensive supportive services are provided by both live-in and on-site supportive services staff.
Through another successful collaboration between Step Up and Aileen Getty, 10 units for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health conditions in Hollywood.
Located on the Veterans Affairs Campus in West LA north of Wilshire, these 54 units are for Veterans who were experiencing chronic homelessness and mental health conditions. Step Up’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) team coordinators to assist with services.
Opened in 2023, Building 205 is located on the Veterans Affairs Campus in West Los Angeles. This acquisition/rehab project provides 68 units of veteran housing in a state-of-the-art facility. It joins Buildings 208 and 209, also located on campus, to create a multi-development support community exclusive for veterans.
Opened in 2023, Building 208 is located on the Veterans Affairs Campus in West Los Angeles. This acquisition/rehab project provides 54 units of veteran housing in a state-of-the-art facility. It joins Buildings 205 and 209, also located on campus, to create a multi-development support community exclusive for veterans.
Step Up on Western opened in 2021 in South Los Angeles. This motel conversion was supported by Project Homekey and offers 33 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans.
A motel conversion supported by Project Homekey, Step Up on West 3rd will provide 137 units of permanent supportive housing to individuals experiencing serious mental health disorders and chronic homelessness. Step Up on West 3rd is located in the heart of Los Angeles.
Step Up on Broadway is a motel conversion, supported by Project Homekey, that is scheduled to open in 2023. Located South Los Angeles, it will provide 35 units of permanent supportive housing.
Plaza Ortiz was developed in partnership with the Cesar Chavez Foundation to provide 53 units of high-quality affordable housing for veterans and low-income residents. Residents have access to onsite social supports, recreational services, and an after-school program. Learn more about the Plaza Ortiz.
The Allstar Homekey is one of Step Up's newest motel conversions and will offer 76 units of permanent supportive housing once fully converted. Through Project Homekey funding and in partnership with co-developer Shangri-La Construction, the property will be home to chronically homeless individuals in the Inland Empire and who are at high risk of Covid-19.
Opened in 2022, Step Up in Redlands provides 100 units of permanent supportive housing in San Bernardino County in the Inland Empire of Southern California. This motel conversion was supported by Project Homekey. Rich wraparound supports are offered onsite to help residents connect to desired social services.
Located in Santa Ana, CA, Heroes Landing opened in June 2020 with 76 units. In co-development with Jamboree Housing Corporation, Heroes Landing provides permanent supportive housing & supportive services for veterans experiencing homelessness. Along with the Step Up Life Skills team, the Long Beach VA, Strength in Support, and Goodwill all have offices onsite.
Located in Salinas, CA, Step Up Salinas opened in December 2020 with 99 apartment units and 2 manager units. Through Project Homekey and the City of Salinas, the property will be home to chronically homeless individuals who are at risk of COVID-19. Step Up & co-developer Shangri-La Industries helped transition phase one of this project from start to finish in just 4 months' time.The program is currently managed by Step Up's Vice President of Programs, 1 Program Director, 1 Program Manager, and 4 Case Managers.
Step Up on Fairview is one of three motel conversion projects, supported by project Homekey, that are opening in Monterey County in 2023. Step Up on Fairview will provide 59 units of permanent supportive housing coupled with Step Up’s comprehensive wraparound supports.
Step Up on Sanborn is one of three motel conversion projects, supported by project Homekey, that are opening in Monterey County in 2023. Step Up on Sanborn will provide 59 units of permanent supportive housing coupled with Step Up’s comprehensive wraparound supports.
Step Up in King is one of three motel conversion projects, supported by project Homekey, that are opening in Monterey County in 2023. Step Up in King will provide 46 units of permanent supportive housing coupled with Step Up’s comprehensive wraparound supports in King City, CA.
Step Up in Thousand Oaks is the first Step Up development in Ventura County. Supported by Project Homekey, this motel conversion will provide 77 units of permanent supportive housing. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023.
Warley Park is an 81-unit community for individuals & families in Sanford, Florida co-developed with Wendover Housing Partners. It is the first Permanent Supportive Housing Project in the Central Florida region for people experiencing homelessness and for those with disabling conditions. Wendover Partners provides on-site property management and Step Up provides supportive services, including Life Skills education, employment services and case management.
Durham Place is a 102-unit community located just north of Orlando, Florida. This new construction project was co-developed with Wendover Housing partners and is scheduled to open in 2023. Residents will have access to onsite property management, as well as supportive services such as rich wrap-around case management support and life skills services.
Opening in 2023, the Step Up in Asheville motel conversion project will provide 115 units of permanent supportive housing and onsite case management to those experiencing chronic homelessness in Buncombe County. Step Up’s first development in North Carolina, it is expected to drastically decrease the area’s population currently experiencing homelessness.
Opening in 2024, the Step Up in Nashville motel conversion project will provide 88 units of permanent supportive housing and onsite case management to those experiencing chronic homelessness in Nashville. Step Up’s first development in Tennessee, it is expected to significantly decrease the area’s population currently experiencing homelessness.
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Step Up Philanthropy Office1460 4th Street, Suite 200Santa Monica, CA 90401
Provides one hour of workforce development training
Provides one home visit from a psychiatrist or nurse for medication support
Provides a Welcome Home Kit to furnish and outfit an apartment
PROVIDES: one hour of work force development training
PROVIDES: one home visit from a psychiatrist or nurse for medication support
PROVIDES: A Welcome Home Kit to furnish and outfit an apartment
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