Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp toured a home for battered, abused and emotionally disturbed children Friday and told the staff that he wanted to help find more funding for the center.
"Some of the children have been abused to where they were forced out of their homes," he told the Olive Crest staff. "I would like to tie our federal assistance not to just shelters, but to programs like this to help lives. This is the kind of example I would like to see throughout the country."
He told staff members he was interested in exploring the idea of using funds from the McKinney Act to help support the Olive Crest Treatment Centers for Abused Children. The McKinney Act, established in 1987, provides urgently needed assistance to protect and improve the lives and safety of the homeless.
Kemp said he planned to meet next week with Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, who was also at the home, to discuss the possibilities of applying the funds to the center.
The Olive Crest Treatment Centers for Abused Children is a chain of group homes designed for the 24-hour care of toddlers, children or teen-agers throughout Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In addition, Olive Crest operates a foster family agency and has foster homes in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. Olive Crest also operates a residential treatment center in Riverside County and will soon open a home in Orange County for drug-addicted babies.
Kemp said he initially became interested in the center because of his son's involvement with Olive Crest.
"Not only has Supervisor Vasquez talked to me about the children, but my son, Jeff, and his wife are actually involved with raising money for Olive Crest," he said.
Jeff Kemp is a professional football player with the Seattle Seahawks. A few years ago, he was a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams and lived in Orange before moving to Washington.
While touring the four-bedroom home, Jack Kemp talked with two of the six teen-age girls who live there. Both the girls, who attend public high school in Costa Mesa, presented Kemp with small gifts.
"It was fabulous," Olive Crest Co-founder Lois Verleur said. "He sat down and really talked with the children. He cared for them."