A $500,000 donation made by Alex Trebek and his wife Jean before the Jeopardy! host passed away last year is being put into action as the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission gets set to break ground on the Trebek Center, a 107-bed bridge housing facility intended to help homeless people transition to permanent residences, TMZ reports.
Construction on the 23,000-square-foot complex will begin on May 15 at the site of Northridge Skateland roller rink, which closed this week after 63 years in business. The Trebek Center will offer residents a variety of services including mental health care, job training and placement, as well as substance abuse counseling when it opens in December.
Hope of the Valley credits the Trebeks’ generosity as the driving force behind their successful mission to raise an additional $2 million from private donors, as well as another $6 million Councilman John Lee helped to secure from the city.
The $500k donation was initially earmarked for a Hope of the Valley headquarters to be called Hope Central, but when it became clear that the project would require further funding, the organization got the Trebeks’ permission to use their gift on the Northridge facility.
Last June, the longtime Studio City residents also donated $100,000 toward the construction an 85-bed shelter in North Hollywood, a decision that Hope of the Valley Chief Executive Ken Craft says Trebek made on the spot during a tour of the site. Now open for service, the NoHo location includes the Alex and Jean Trebek Multipurpose Room in their honor.
“He’s one of the kindest, most sincere, generous, thoughtful people I’ve ever met—and selfless,” Craft said of Trebek.
“I was delighted to come out here today because it’s so important to Los Angeles and in particular, the Valley. As I pointed out, Jean and I are Valley people,” Trebek said at the shelter last July. “I’m not one of those NIMBYs. I’m not one of those people who thinks that we can’t deal with the homeless near my house because that’s bad. I don’t feel that way. I wish more people would react in a positive way to reaching out and trying to help their fellow member of the community.”
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