Glendale is partnering with a local nonprofit to fill the void left by the downsizing of youth and family services offered by City Hall due to ongoing budget constraints.
The nonprofit All for Health, Health for All already operates three clinics in the city, but starting in April it will begin offering drug and addiction programs aimed at local teens at the Cedar House, a historic bungalow owned by the city in Central Glendale.
The move may not seem huge, but City Manager Scott Ochoa said it represents a shift in how the city approaches meeting the needs of the community with fewer dollars to go around.
“It's a small corner of the community, but it represents a much larger trend and casts a much larger shadow because I think it is the shape of things to come as we talk about community services, social services and this area of programming,” he said after the City Council unanimously approved the program this week.
All for Health, Health for All plans to target Latino and Armenian youths and families with drug abuse and addiction therapy, as well as anger management programs.
“The need is ever growing,” said Larry Fernandez, clinical director of the Glendale Individual and Family Treatment program to be offered at the Cedar House, 141 S. Cedar St.
Prior to being downsized in September, Glendale's youth and family services staff offered information and referrals to other programs out of the Cedar House, but they did not do hands-on therapy.
While those referral services will continue out of Pacific Park, the new program will include actual therapy services on the premises. Pacific Park is about two miles west of the Cedar House.
In exchange for offering the service, the city is giving All for Health, Health for All below-market rent — $500 a month, enough to cover the city's utility costs.
All for Health, Health for All has $36,390 to run the program, but plans to leverage federal and Los Angeles County health grants to cover the full-time costs, according to a city report.
Therapists working with the program plan to volunteer their time.
Dr. Arthur Pogosyan, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, said people who need services — even those without insurance — can come to the center for an evaluation and screening in order to discuss next steps.
Jermaine Strickland, a therapist and co-founder of the program, said the community around Cedar House is in need of addiction therapy and drug education.
“Our hope… is to provide education to the parents, families about substance abuse,” Strickland said, adding that he plans to focus not just on typical street drugs, but newly popular ones seen at high school campuses, such as “spice” — or synthetic marijuana — and the hallucinogenic drugs salvia and “bath salts.”