Alex Trebek Center for Homeless Built Thanks to Late 'Jeopardy!' Host's Donation

The 107-bed Trebek Center in Los Angeles will reportedly break ground on May 15

alex trebek
Alex Trebek. Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty

A new center to help combat the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles is set to break ground this spring, thanks in large part to a donation from Alex Trebek and the late Jeopardy! host's wife, Jean.

Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission is planning to open the 107-bed facility, titled The Trebek Center, by converting a 23,000 sq. ft. roller rink in the San Fernando Valley, PEOPLE has confirmed.

According to TMZ, the rescue mission's initial funding comes from a $500,000 donation that the Trebeks made, which Hope of the Valley told the outlet helped them raise an additional $2 million for the project from other private donors (e.g., Shepherd Church, Beach Body) and $6 million from the city — the latter courtesy of efforts from Councilman John Lee.

According to TMZ, the new housing facility will break ground on May 15 and open in December, offering residents an array of services designed to help them get back on their feet and into more permanent housing. These will include substance-abuse counseling, job training and placement and mental-health services.

While the donation was initially intended for a building called the Hope Center, TMZ reports that Hope of the Valley got permission from the Trebeks before Alex's death to use the money toward The Trebek Center.

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Alex Trebek
Alex and Jean Trebek in 2019. Michael Kovac/Getty Images

News of The Trebek Center comes eight months after Alex, who died in November at the age of 80 following a battle with stage four pancreatic cancer, and his wife were honored by having the Alex and Jean Trebek Community Room named for them at the first A Bridge Home facility in North Hollywood, California.

The Trebeks donated $100,000 to the latter facility, which was set to house 25 women, 60 men and their pets temporarily. The A Bridge Home facility was created to help the homeless "become folks who we know are human beings and can feel that humanity again," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a release at the time.

Of the efforts, Alex — who, along with his wife, was a longtime resident of the San Fernando Valley — said in the release at the time, "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," he added.

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Alex was committed to giving back during his life and developed relationships with various charities and causes, including supporting a nonprofit to help keep his favorite animal species, the musk ox, alive.

Jeopardy! and Alex's family have also donated more than a dozen of the longtime game show host's signature suits to The Doe Fund, an organization that provides paid work, housing, vocational training, continuing education and social services to underserved Americans with histories of addiction, homelessness and incarceration.

In addition to 14 suits, the recent donation includes 58 dress shirts, 300 neckties, 25 polo shirts, 14 sweaters, nine sports coats, nine pairs of dress shoes, 15 belts, two parkas and three pairs of dress slacks, according to a February release.

"During his last day on set, Alex extolled the virtues of everyone opening up their hands and their hearts to those who are suffering," said Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards. "Donating his wardrobe to those who are working to rebuild their lives is the perfect way to begin to honor that last request."

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