Step Up On Second has announced a gift of $750,000 from the Annenberg Foundation to fund construction of its new facility, Step Up On Fifth, according to spokesperson Dienna D’Olimpio.

Step Up On Second is a program offering housing and comprehensive services to the mentally ill,

The new project will provide homes for people living with persistent and chronic mental illness, said D’Olimpio.

Step Up On Fifth will be at 1548 Fifth St., Santa Monica, close to Step Up On Second’s main facility. It is expected to be completed in 2009.

The waiting time to get into Step Up On Second is currently three to five years, and Step Up On Fifth will provide additional housing in a five-story residential apartment building containing 46 single-room occupancy units, with an existing 50-by-15-foot parking lot, said D’Olimpio.

Eighteen units are designated for individuals who are mentally ill and have been homeless for one year or more. The project will cover a total of 23,000 square feet on five floors.

“This support means that Step Up On Fifth will be a home for many years to those who today are living on our local streets because of their mental illness,” said Todd Lipka, chief executive officer of Step Up On Second. “With these generous gifts, we have exceeded the goal of the capital campaign, originally $2 million, by $600,000 to date.”

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