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Fundraiser for Church and Subway Cafe to Save Space in Santa Monica

Church and non-profit cafe closed following bogus vermin complaint

By Dolores Quintana

Metropolis Santa Monica is a mixed-use facility located at 603 Arizona Ave downtown, which includes a cafe called Metro Café. It is a non-profit organization and church that seeks to serve the community, especially those at risk or who may be forgotten. Their programs and services are intended to help the most vulnerable, low-income seniors and families, as well as homeless people.

Metro Café was closed for 11 months during the pandemic, which severely hampered its ability to fund its organization. Metropolis owes deferred rent to its landlord since the time during the COVID closings When the Café, their main source of income, had been closed.

Last December, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) received a complaint that the cafe’s kitchen was infested with vermin shortly after Metropolis attempted to reopen the cafe. When public health showed up to investigate the establishment, they found that the allegation was completely false, however, the Department of Health found that the exemption of the Metropolis Café as a secondary use establishment should be upgraded to a full restaurant facility license. They have since been working with the city to be able to get the permit, but that involves new architectural plans and renovations that Metropolis has paid for.

Asked about the issues in Metropolis, a public health spokesperson posted this response via email: “A complaint regarding a cockroach infestation at the Metro Café located at 603 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica has been the subject of an investigation by our public health inspector on December 21, 2021. Although the visit did not validate the cockroach complaint, it did reveal that the restaurant was operating without a public health permit, which is required by law in the state. The restaurant was ordered to close and submit plans to public health. The business owner has received the necessary information to become compliant and to be able to apply for a public health permit. Also, our records indicate that this is a new kitchen and not a remodel.

When asked who was responsible for the bogus complaint, the spokesperson replied that the names of those filing complaints with Public Health are not public records.

On May 18, 2022, the Metropolis landlord gave them three days notice to pay or vacate the full rent of $44,000. Metropolis has set up a GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-us-save-metropolis) to help raise $50,000 to pay deferred rent. Currently, donations total $17,531.

We asked Pastor Steven Snook for an update on Metropolis’ situation regarding the three-day notice to pay or leave and he replied via email, “We were able to accommodate some of the landlord’s requests. We have come to an agreement and are catching up on the deferred rent that is due. We are always here. The cafe isn’t open yet, but the ball is now in our court as far as the city is concerned.

Pastor Steve added: “I want to reiterate that I don’t want to talk about the owner. We owed the back rent, we just weren’t able to pay it in full and he wasn’t able to extend it any longer to meet us where we were.

The owner did not respond to inquiries before press time.

Metropolis is an organization made up of three distinct parts: Metro Church, Metro Co-lab and Metro Café. During the pandemic, Metropolis has incredibly been able to continue feeding the needy from its soup kitchen and pantry, despite the many problems it has faced.

Metro Café is Metropolis’ model donation café which is their main source of funding for their charity work and organization in general. Although the store is run on a donation model, it has proven to be an important source of revenue for the organization. Without the revenue generated by Metro Café, Metropolis cannot continue to exist in its current form. During the pandemic, the organization served 35,000 people and provided 15,000 meals, 63,000 grocery bags and 35,000 hygiene kits. They have also organized many different events.

Founder and pastor Steve Snook was also a chaplain with the Santa Monica Police Department for 19 years and a chaplain at UCLA Hospital. Pastor Steve said the organization first gained access to the Sixth and Arizona property in 2015. He said the church’s mission has become to show the community how up-to-date Metropolis is. community and meet community needs.

According to Pastor Steve, about four and a half years ago, the organization realized that residents of the 13-story tower next to the Metropolis facility needed regular grocery deliveries in order to survive. It became clear to Metropolis during the pandemic that these grocery bags were essential for the seniors who lived in the tower and Metropolis continued to donate these essentials to seniors through its Our Neighbor’s Pantry program which distributes the races to tenants on Thursday.

In addition to our neighbor’s food pantry, the church has the Sunday lunch program where volunteers prepare meals and hygiene kits to distribute to those in need.

Volunteer Tiffany Lam said, via email, “Santa Monica has a large number of homeless people as well as many older people who have no other means of community, and Metropolis has provided them with more than food. and hygiene, but someone to talk to and a place to congregate without fear of judgment Our fear is that if we lose our physical location overnight, older people and people with disabilities homelessness that we nurture will have no one to turn to.

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement