St. Joseph Center hosts a panel discussion

On International Women’s Day, St. Joseph Center hosted a lunch panel discussion that included Wendy Greuel (Former Los Angeles City Controller & Current Vice Chair for LAHSA); Molly Rysman (Housing & Homelessness Deputy to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl); and Alisa Orduña (Senior Advisor on Homelessness for the City of Santa Monica). The panel was moderated by St. Joseph Center President & CEO Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum and the event was presented in conjunction with the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women.

As Los Angeles’s homelessness crisis continues, St. Joseph Center hosted this panel to provide the community with direct access to local, County, and regional perspectives on a range of topics around women and homelessness. More than 70 guests from the community attended the event.

Issues discussed by the panelists included the unique challenges faced by women experiencing homelessness; systemic responsibilities of various levels of government; and new resources available thanks to Measure H. Molly Rysman observed that, “Measure H is a tremendous opportunity and a huge amount of work.” She commended St. Joseph Center and other direct service organizations that are scaling up to meet the challenge of Measure H and said that “the initial impact is looking really good.” Wendy Greuel noted that both the City and County of LA neglected homelessness for many years, but that the policies and collaborations that have come about recently are encouraging for future improvement. Orduña emphasized the role that smaller cities have to play, especially when it comes to finding locations to build new permanent housing.

The discussion ended with questions from the audience, many of which concerned how members of community can get involved and make a difference. Greuel highlighted the importance of volunteerism, while Orduña encouraged everyone present to write to their city council representatives to express their support for new permanent housing construction. Dr. Adams Kellum closed the event saying, “I’m sorry we’re out of time because I know there’s so much more we can discuss around this important topic. Please stay involved and let’s keep the conversation going.”

St. Joseph Center’s Culinary Training Program catered the luncheon. This vocational effort equips women and men with barriers to employment, including bouts of homelessness, with the skills they need to achieve success in the job market. Over the last decade, more than 75% of the program’s graduates have obtained jobs within 90 days of graduation.

St. Joseph Center is an independent, non-profit 501 (c)(3), community-based organization whose mission is “to provide working poor families, as well as homeless men, women, and children of all ages, with the inner resources and tools to become productive, stable and self-supporting members of the community.” The Center does not provide religious services or instruction and assists people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. The Center serves more than 7,000 individuals annually across the Westside and in South Los Angeles through a variety of integrated programs. To learn more about St. Joseph Center’s comprehensive services, please visit

Submitted by Paul Rubenstein, St. Joseph Center VP of Development & Communications,



Santa Monica Place Announces Kids Club May – June Performance Calendar

Santa Monica Place presents Kids Club, a monthly music series just for kids. The first Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m., Kids Club welcomes the Kidz Rock Family Concert Series, hosted by Twinkle, with special musical guest performances.

On May 2, multiple award-winning children’s performer, singer/songwriter and educator Andy Z is set to perform. June 6 features Twinkle Time, Kids Club host and kindie bilingual pop artist, Twinkle’s pop, rock and hip-hop concert.

The events will be the first Wednesday of each month, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

May 2: Andy Z

June 6: Twinkle Time

Santa Monica Place is located at 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, at Broadway and Third Street Promenade. The event will be held on the 3rd floor inside the food court. The events are free to attend. More information about Santa Monica Place and Kids Club is available online at

Submitted by Brit Henn, The ACE Agency,



Rebecca Abano Selected as New City Architect

Public Works Director Susan Cline has announced the selection of Rebecca Abano as Santa Monica’s new City Architect. Abano comes to Santa Monica from the City of Los Angeles where she successfully managed a number of major capital programs.

Abano will oversee the 18-member team in the Architecture Services Division of the Public Works Department in providing planning, design and construction services for a multi-year capital improvement program of almost $500 million. Signature projects include the City Services Building, for which staff is pursuing the Living Building Challenge, as well as the Civic Center Multipurpose Sports Field, City Yards Modernization and Memorial Park Expansion.

“Rebecca’s demonstrated experience overseeing the design of Los Angeles’ first net zero energy projects and delivering several LEED certified buildings made her stand out from the rest of the candidates,” said Public Works Director Susan Cline. “Her commitment to sustainable practices and high design standards are consistent with our goals and values, and we are thrilled to have her join our team as a seasoned leader.”

Abano’s career in the municipal sector spans nearly 30 years. She worked her way up the ranks at the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works where she served as an architectural associate and architect before being promoted to senior architect. She oversaw major projects including the $417 million Citywide Public Safety Capital Program funded by Proposition Q, the $172 million Zoo Capital Improvement Program and the implementation of the Supportive Housing Program funded by Proposition HHH.

“I’m very excited to join the progressive City of Santa Monica, and I look forward to being part of the Public Works team,” said Abano.

Abano earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of the Philippines. She is an active member of the American Institute of Architecture and the Living Building Institute.

Abano is passionate about sustainability and greener living, and enjoys skiing and nature walks. She is married and has a daughter who attends the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Abano will begin her role on Monday, March 26, 2018, with a starting annual salary of $177,804.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Santa Monica Public Information Officer

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