EAST LOS ANGELES : Disabled Youths May Get Center, Housing
The Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California plans to build a new center and housing complex that will replace the organization’s Gage Avenue building.
Villa Malaga will include a 24,500-square-foot community center and 24-unit apartment complex for the disabled and their families on two acres at Cesar Chavez and Dangler avenues. Services and staff will be increased to serve the population in the area, with a therapeutic aquatics program, preschool, day care and after-school and weekend recreational programs.
The center will cost an estimated $3.5 million, funded through private donations. The housing units, financed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will cost $2.2 million. It marks the first time HUD has agreed to finance a housing project for the disabled that includes accommodations for clients and their families, said center spokesman Bernard Sandalow.
The County Board of Supervisors will consider the development proposal Feb. 2. Sandalow said construction should be complete by 1996, pending the board’s approval.
“If all goes well, we will have the groundbreaking for the housing in the spring,” said Marilyn Graves, president of the Crippled Children’s Society.
The community center, which will be similar to other regional centers operated by the Crippled Children’s Society, will include activity and conference areas, classrooms, an indoor therapy pool, a kitchen and outside play areas. It will offer teen and adult recreation programs and day camps, parent counseling, information and referrals and vocational workshops.
The Crippled Children’s Society has raised $150,000 in its capital campaign that was begun last July.
The expansion will help improve services to the underserved Latino population, said Jonathan Y. Thomas, chairman of the society’s board of trustees.
“The Latino population is growing rapidly and studies show that the needs of disabled persons aren’t being met because of the lack of available facilities in the area,” Thomas said. “Our new center will change all that.”
Since 1969, the Crippled Children’s Society has offered services to a maximum of 24 clients at a time at a 2,700-square-foot converted county fire station at 154 N. Gage Ave. Because of the limited space, the program often has children on waiting lists, said the center’s East Los Angeles director, Nadine Munguia.
Munguia said she hopes the new facilities will break down cultural barriers that often prevent the families of Latinos who are disabled from seeking help.
“In our community, family and church are the centers of daily life and parents tend to be very protective of their disabled children,” she said. “As a result, their quality of life isn’t what it could be and it becomes more difficult and costly to compensate for their disabilities at a later age.”