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New Housing Facility Completed in Riverside

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Providing Permanent and Drop-In Housing and Support Programs
for Chronically Homeless Adults 

The Riverside County Department of Mental Health announces the opening of The Place, its new 24-hour a day drop-in center and permanent housing program for chronically homeless persons with a serious mental health disorder.  Located on the City of Riverside's Homeless Multi-Service Center Campus at 2800 Hulen Place, The Place adds a new component to the continuum of housing programs that serve the population of chronically homeless adults and will serve an area that includes Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona, Norco and adjacent unincorporated areas of the region.   The City plans to further expand services on the campus by adding an access center.  A preview opening will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on Friday, January 4, 2008, with an opening ceremony taking place at 1:30 pm on that day.

"We have looked forward to the opening of this facility for almost two years," said Jerry Wengerd, Director, Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  "The opening of The Place is a historic occasion for the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  There finally is a single 24 - 7 location in Riverside that will welcome chronically homeless individuals whose life on the streets is directly related to their serious illness." 

The Place can link drop-in center guests to emergency and transitional housing as well as provide on-site permanent housing for 25.  Guests and residents of The Place must be homeless and have a diagnosis of an impairing mental health disorder in order to qualify for services.  Semi-private rooms, laundry, showers, community and dining facilities are included on-site.  

The Place  will be operated by Jefferson Transition Programs, a non-profit organization which specializes in peer to peer services and supports.  Jefferson Transition Programs operates a variety of other programs in the Riverside and Perris areas under contract with the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.

The Place is funded with a combination of HUD and State Mental Health Services Act funds.  The Department learned last week that Riverside County has been awarded additional HUD funding to establish a similar program in the Coachella Valley. 

"This new facility is designed to engage the hardest to reach homeless adult who, despite their homelessness, have resisted efforts engage them accepting housing and begin a journey toward recovery from their illness," said Maria Marquez, Regional Manager for the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  "The majority of The Place staff are peer counselors, many of whom have been homeless themselves.  Within one site, The Place provides the physical facility and staffing to assist people in moving from homelessness to stable, permanent housing," she continued.  "This facility is based on a model that has proven to show impressive results in establishing stable housing for a population that is typically very difficult to assist."

"We are very excited about the new opportunity to add this type of program to the Coachella Valley.  The Department has been working with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) to select the location for the new program,"  Wengerd added. "It takes a commitment from all stakeholders to find solutions to chronic homelessness, both the Riverside and Coachella Valley initiatives could not have a happened without the support and partnership of local governments such as the City of Riverside and CVAG," continued Wengerd.

For more information, contact Lynne Brockmeier at 951 / 358 - 5370.

Hip-Hop/Rap Artist Common Visits the ‘Hood’

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By Billie Jordan

Contributing Writer

It was a star studded afternoon that bled into evening with an aggressively executed plan to intervene and make a difference in the lives of the L.A., underprivileged youth. More than 250 people showed to the Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement (LACMM) Launch Celebration to lend their voices and promises of support. 


Including the surprise appearance of Hip-Hop/Rap artist, known as, "Common" who approached the speaker's platform with the same passion and candor evident in his music.

"I feel better right now," Common said, as he described his previous disposition regarding a venture that didn't go his way, and the advice that his mother gave him to deal with it. She told him 'go out and help somebody.' And that's exactly what he did and said he plans to keep doing. Common continued  "The Hip-Hop community is not ignorant. Our brothers and sisters are open to being corrected."

The passion for the important undertaking of the LACMM infused the day as Susan Taylor's grace and presence tempered the occasion.

"Not on our watch," Taylor said as she described statistics concerning children of inadequately performing schools. She cited 58 percent [of inner city students] are functionally illiterate. "This hopelessness cannot be allowed to continue on our Watch." she said. 

Actress, Sheryl lee Ralph told a candid story depicting the misdirected & often unfocused anger and lack of support found in parents and their children and even staff of inner city schools. "Somebody touched my daughter's phone," Ralph said, annotating a story featuring an angry parent responding to her daughter's involvement in a fight.

Her story, although funny in its identification of the foolish happenings of inner city education, ended with a beam of hope as she pinpointed the clues and evidence that actions of the mentoring movement in fact, make a difference.

Susan L. Taylor
The roar of the crowd and pace in the hallways of the LACMM launch Celebration & Press Conference was indicative of an aggressive movement that had begun picking up speed & high profile support. The idea that the hopelessness of L.A. inner city youth will be thwarted if Taylor's plans for galvanizing 1 million mentors pans out, peppered the room.

Susan Taylor challenged America to enlist a force of one million mentors to make a significant impact in the lives of inner city youth. In answer to Taylor's call, the National Cares Mentoring Movement is mobilizing forces of mentors for youth in African American Communities and launched its Los Angeles chapter LACMM, to facilitate this important mission locally.

LACMM will focus on outreach for greater Los Angeles and pairing the youth with organizations that offer readily assessable mentoring services and programs throughout L.A. neighborhoods.

Andrade Joins Assemblymember Carter’s Staff

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Jesús Munguia Andrade
When Jesús Munguia Andrade worked with high school students in a college outreach program, he learned the importance of a bill sponsored by District 62 Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter that was recently signed into law.

Andrade, who has chosen to become her legislative aide under the Jesse Marvin Unruh Fellowship Program, advised students on completing the A-G academic requirements necessary to gain admission to the UC or Cal State universities. Thanks to Carter's legislative efforts, schools now will be required to notify parents and students in writing of the A-G requirements.

Andrade said the law will help many students and families. "Students and parents need to understand what it takes to get into college. Sometimes it's too late to try to do all the academic requirements and, for that reason alone, they might end up not going to college at all."

Andrade, 24, a 2007 graduate of Cal State Sacramento, was one of 18 individuals selected from a statewide pool of more than 400 applicants to participate this year in the Unruh Fellowship Program. Founded in 1957, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious legislative fellowship programs in the nation. The program was renamed in 1987 to honor Jesse Marvin Unruh, California's former Assembly Speaker and State Treasurer.

The year-long fellowship program provides an introduction to public policy formation and adoption in the California Legislature through full-time work as a professional legislative aide to an Assembly Member.

Andrade, who is from Stockton and has family in the Inland Empire, gained valuable experience and earned awards as an outreach counselor and student government president. He majored in philosophy with a concentration in law and ethics. He interned at the State and Consumer Services Agency in Sacramento.

"I look forward to working under the guidance of Assembly Member Carter in a public service environment where I can put my skills and abilities to the test," Andrade said.

Assembly Member Carter said, "The people selected for the fellowship are the cream of the crop. I am excited to have an opportunity to mentor one of the best and brightest in the state." Assembly Member Carter is honored that Andrade chose her to be his mentor. Sixty Assembly offices vie for 18 fellows who choose which legislator and staff they want to work under.

New Restaurant, Job Opportunities At Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

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ImageFantasy Springs Resort Casino is launching a brand new restaurant scheduled to open it's doors in March 2008. In an effort to staff this exciting dining establishment with the most talented & qualified employees, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is holding a Restaurant Job Fair on Wednesday January 16th from Noon to 6pm inside the Special Events Center.

Qualified applicants can choose from the following openings: Restaurant Manager, Assistant Managers, Host or Hostess, Bussers, Servers, Chef de Cuisine & Bartenders.

Applicants are encouraged to bring their current resume & photo identification for consideration. Applicants are strongly urged to dress for an interview.

For more employment opportunities at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, please log on to the company website at www.fantasyspringsresort.com/jobs.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is an equal opportunity employer.

Achieving Greatness

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Banning High School student Gabrielle Alexander was awarded the Mountain Pass League All League First Team for the 2007/2008 Volleyball Season. This is voted on by the league coaches of all the schools in the league. She was also voted Best Setter & MVP by her teammates.

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BVN National News Wire