On Monday, March 13, officials from the county and city of Los Angeles came together to celebrate the grand opening of a brand new home for hope in South Los Angeles: The Broadway Manchester Service Center.
The opening was supported by Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, Mark Ridley Thomas, L.A. County Supervisor, Curren Price, LA City Councilmember, CD-9, Mike Neeley, Former LAHSA Commissioner, Peter Lynn, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Pastor John Cager, Board Chair of First to Serve, Kevin McCardle, Board Chair of St. Joseph Center, Rev. Richard Reed, Executive Director of First to Serve and Va Lecia Adams Kellum, President & CEO of St. Joseph Center.
“It has been my goal to expand our services to South L.A.,” said Kellum.
“There are already so many great things happening, great programs, services and agencies but we really feel like we could also add to the mix and be a blessing.”
Formerly a post office, the new location has been renovated and represents the collaboration between two highly respected social service organizations, First to Serve and St. Joseph Center.
“St. Joseph, spiritual roots, First To Serve, spiritual roots—these roots are combining,” said Rev. Richard Reed, Executive Director of First to Serve.
“We are excited to be a part of that collaboration, of that spiritual root that can help this community turn it back.”
“This is indeed a special occasion and you ought to be proud to be a part of this celebration of the opening of the St. Joseph Center and First To Serve,” said Ridley-Thomas.
“This mirrors the kind of elevation and collaboration that is worthy of our acknowledgement and our support.
“Big things are happening, new things are happening, progressive things are happening right here in our county and we are about to make history like never before.”
As the city of Los Angeles begins utilizing HHH funds and as L.A. County prepares for the passage of Measure H to be confirmed, the new location will serve as a vital hub for families and individuals in need.
“Those of us of faith know that democracy reflects its people and if we learn in all the traditions that people reflect divinity our democracy should reflect something divine,” said Garcetti.
With the passing of initiatives such Prop HHH and soon Measure H, Garcetti said “it shows that Los Angeles is ready not to address homelessness, not to confront homelessness but to end homelessness.”
“We are starting with a facility like this to make sure we are ready today to do tomorrow’s business.”
The Broadway Manchester Service Center will house staff and programs that assist people who are struggling with homelessness and poverty. Services already being provided or coordinated through staff at the new center include Homeless Outreach, Case Management, Rapid Re-Housing, Crisis Housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing, with additional services coming online soon.
“There is a misunderstanding that non-profits can’t ever have a meaningful collaboration—we are committed to show that partnership here on Manchester and Broadway can work,” said Pastor John Cager, Board Chair of First to Serve.
“Resources are too few for us not to be able to work together. The problem is to big for us not to be able to work together.
“We’re going to make this work not because of who we are but because the need is so great we can’t afford not make it work.”
St. Joseph Center has been serving low income and homeless people for over 40 years. Kellum is ready to get started on healing a wound on Los Angeles that has gone untreated for far too long. She is ready to get to work with her partners.
“We’re working collaboratively here in this space.”