Via Avanta Dedication Release
For Immediate Release
Dienna D’Olimpio – BBPR, Inc.
DIDI HIRSCH MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES DEDICATES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PROJECT FOR HOMELESS WOMEN WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND THEIR CHILDREN
Newly Renovated Via Avanta Women’s Residential Substance Abuse and Mental Health Facility in Pacoima, Calif. Unveiled
CULVER CITY, Calif. Nov. 22, 2013 – Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services today dedicated “Project 60 Women & Children,” Los Angeles County’s first rapid re-housing program devoted exclusively to homeless women with serious mental illness and their children. The innovative program will be housed in the newly renovated Zev Yaroslavsky Family Wing of Didi Hirsch’s Via Avanta facility, a women’s residential substance abuse and mental health treatment center in Pacoima, Calif.
The program will work with 60 parenting and pregnant women and approximately 100 children. Mothers will learn to manage their disorders, become more effective parents, gain stable housing and attain personal and vocational goals. The program also will help children develop healthier attachments with their mothers and get “back on track” developmentally and emotionally. Specialized programming will address female veterans’ distinct needs.
During the dedication ceremony, Didi Hirsch Chair Michael C. Wierwille thanked LA County Supervisor Yaroslavsky for his leadership in ending homelessness and his support for Via Avanta over the last 18 years. “This project brings a new dimension to efforts to end homelessness,” Wierwille said. “Didi Hirsch is proud to partner with Supervisor Yaroslavsky and grateful for the Third District’s grant, which helped fund extensive renovations of the women’s living quarters.”
“We are proud to support this crucial project,” Yaroslavsky said. “With a proven track record of providing exceptional mental health and substance abuse services, Didi Hirsch has the experience and expertise to assure its success. I look forward to seeing once-vulnerable families leave Via Avanta with a home and all the social support that comes from being rooted in a community.”
According to Didi Hirsch President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kita S. Curry, Project 60 Women & Children is the first program of its kind in LA County. “Supervisor Yaroslavsky was the driving force behind Project 50, which successfully brought housing and services to adults who had lived on Skid Row so long it had become a way of life. The beauty of Project 60 Women & Children is that it addresses the root causes of homelessness, providing mothers with the tools they need to create a different future for themselves and the next generation.”
As a successful collaboration, Project 60 will be funded by a significant two-year grant from Supervisor Yaroslavsky’s office, Mental Health Services Act Fund (Prevention and Early Intervention), Department of Public Health’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Division (SAPC) and the Department of Mental Health (DMH). DMH also will provide housing vouchers as families transition to the community. Additional funding to renovate the residence and create a suite for mental health treatment came from the LA City Council, The Ahmanson Foundation and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. The Veterans Healing Initiative funded specialized services for female veterans.
In addition to Yaroslavsky, Curry and Wierwille, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Department of Mental Health Chief Deputy Director Robin Kay, Ph.D. and State Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra participated in the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was followed by an open house.
About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
With 70 years of experience, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services transforms lives by providing quality mental health care and substance abuse services in communities where stigma or poverty limit access. From 11 locations and 100 schools throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Didi Hirsch helps more than 74,000 children and adults each year, offering services that range from community education to outpatient care to residential treatment. Its Suicide Prevention Center was the first in the nation. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org/.
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