Call it a turning point for Turning Point.
For nearly two decades, OPCC’s interim housing facility on 16th Street in Santa Monica operated without any significant repairs.
But over the last six months, the structure has undergone extensive renovations as the local nonprofit organization continues working to help people transition out of homelessness.
“It was just time for a major overhaul,” said John Maceri, the nonprofit’s executive director. “There’s a lot of wear and tear after 20 years.”
OPCC earlier this month celebrated the grand reopening of the shelter, which provides short-term housing for 55 men and women.
The semi-private sleeping cubicles on the upper level of the two-story shelter were completely rebuilt. New floors were put in. The walls were repainted. The bathrooms and showers were refurbished. The heating and cooling systems were upgraded.
The common areas downstairs were also redone. The facility now boasts new plumbing lines, hot water heaters and elevator equipment as well as fresh furniture and a new dishwasher for a kitchen that prepares hundreds of meals each day.
The $1-million renovations were funded by a “significant” contribution from former county supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who attended the grand reopening Nov. 10, as well as by donations from foundations, philanthropists and individuals, Maceri said.
“We’re very excited and very grateful for the community for supporting us,” he said. “I know the staff and residents are excited to have a nice new facility. It was just time. It was something we’d planned for. There’s a natural lifecycle to all buildings, and it was time.”
Turning Point first opened in 1978 in the basement of First Christian Church near the intersection of 6th Street and Arizona Avenue, but the church was destroyed in the Northridge earthquake in 1994.
Around that time, OPCC bought the property on which Turning Point now sits. The facility on 16th Street between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard was built starting in 1995 and has been in use since 1997, Maceri said.
The recent renovations began in April and were completed around the end of September. The project was timed to coincide with several residents’ moves into permanent housing, Maceri said, and remaining residents were placed in other facilities. New clients began moving in this month.
“It was too much to do a renovation with with residents in place,” he said. “We pretty much took it down to the studs.”
Turning Point, which has a core staff of about 15 people, already has a waiting list. Residents typically come from OPCC’s main access center, and they are also referred by emergency officials at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.
Residents usually stay at the facility for a few months. Some of them work and some enroll in job training programs, while others attend school.
About 95 percent of Turning Point clients who move into permanent housing are able to maintain stable living situations, according to Maceri, a success rate that he attributes to the comprehensive services they receive from OPCC.
Based at Turning Point is OPCC’s wide-ranging Wellness Program, which includes workshops and classes on substance abuse, money management, diet and exercise, medication, anger management and other life skills.
“It’s not just getting people into housing. It’s keeping them there,” Maceri said. “We don’t want them to return to being homeless.”
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.