From left are Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Charlene Dimas-Peinado, Gustavo Velasquez, and Maria Salinas. (Courtesy photo)

Wellnest, a provider of mental health and supportive services, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for The Nest on Exposition.  The innovative housing and mental health project, constructed in collaboration with the State of California and the County of Los Angeles, marks a significant step in addressing the intersecting issues of homelessness, housing insecurity and mental health in California.

The Nest on Exposition is a modular project designed to provide 24 interim housing units for young individuals who may be at risk for homelessness, alongside integrated mental health services.

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“There is no more important task than addressing homelessness, especially homelessness as it relates to young people,” said California Department of Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez.

“It is unacceptable for young people — including emancipated foster youth — to have to couch surf, live in cars, or huddle under bridges or inside tents along the roadside in our great state. I want to thank and congratulate Wellnest for its amazing 100th year journey to uplift people at a moment where they certainly need it the most, and that will be the case for the future young residents of the Nest on Exposition.”

Wellnest President & CEO Charlene Dimas-Peinado shares remarks at the ceremony. (Courtesy photo)

Wellnest was recently announced as a recipient of the Homekey NOFA Award from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). This award is part of the $156.4 million in Homekey awards allocated in the latest funding round aimed at combating homelessness and housing insecurity across the state of California.

Charlene Dimas-Peinado, Wellnest president and CEO, stated, “The groundbreaking ceremony for The Nest on Exposition is a momentous occasion that signifies our commitment to creating a healthier community by providing vulnerable youth with the support they need. This project exemplifies the power of collaboration between public entities and dedicated organizations like Wellnest. We look forward to the positive impact it will have on our community.”

In attendance was Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Lourdes Castro Ramirez, chief of Housing and Homelessness Solutions, Office of Mayor Karen Bass; Gustavo Velasquez, director of California Department of Housing and Community Development; and members of the Wellnest Board of Directors including Chairperson Gail Kennard.

Mitchell said, “Wellnest is one of many partners working in partnership with the county, taking action for solutions to close the gap. This interim housing development is housing first in action. The county in action, a public-private partnership in action, everyone in action.”

The ceremony not only marked the physical start of construction, but also symbolized the start of a transformative journey that will change lives, strengthen communities, and set an example for future initiatives aimed at addressing homelessness and mental health challenges.

Rebecca Haussling is the vice president of Communications and Public Affairs for Wellness.