2018 Grants Challenge

Center for Sustainable Communities - Compton

Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County works to strengthen communities through economic empowerment, sustainable community development, and by helping underserved communities thrive.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Utilizing the model of 'What Makes A Community?' as our focus, NHS is working with the City of Compton, Pacific Coast Regional, and METRO CDC to create a central hub where community members can connect. The Center will help low-to-moderate income families in Compton access a full range of services and programming related to regional housing, transit, economic development, and urban agriculture that make communities stronger and more resilient.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your activation impact?​

Access to healthy food

Housing affordability

Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

Central LA

South LA

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Encourage businesses to change practices

Increase participation in political processes

Influence individual behavior

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to LIVE?​

NHS' Center for Sustainable Communities serves hundreds of low income families annually in a region that has endured many of the worst impacts of the economic downturn. Of primary concern is how to deal with the growing challenges among these neighborhoods regarding chronic unemployment/underemployment, reduced capital access for small business development, the ongoing threat of food insecurity, substandard transit options, skyrocketing housing costs, educational disparities, and youth disengagement.

In response, the Center for Sustainable Communities provides the people of Compton and South Los Angeles County a facility that serves as a hub to build a solid foundation for creating neighborhood sustainability over the next decade. Specific impacts include: 1) Improving the job readiness and overall skills base of local workforce; 2) Providing healthy living resources,health and vision clinic services to residents; 3) Reaching and training residents through the CSC Neighborhood Revitalization Institute; 4) Increasing access to business incubator services and originating loans for small business owners; 5) Engaging youth in on-site workforce and mentoring programs; 6) Assisting families through our Financial Empowerment Center; 7) Establishing community garden projects on the property and urban gardens in surrounding neighborhoods; 8) Sharing educational resources through an on-site library and technology center; 9) Providing green education and conservation programs; 10) Promoting community safety with a Public Safety Drop In Site - Fire, Paramedic, Building & Safety; and 11) Building 300 units of affordable housing and increasing home-ownership. In addition to meeting crucial resource access needs for families, the Center will allow its partners to share sustainability concepts that drive planning approaches in other impacted communities throughout South Los Angeles and LA County.

As the facility grows, the Center will expand to help hundreds of small business owners, neighborhood non-profit groups, and residents through on-site services and regional partnerships with community service groups, faith-based organizations, green organizations, health providers, technology professionals, schools, and municipalities. At least 50% of our tenants will be service-driven.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to LIVE​

The residents of Compton are primarily made up of low to moderate income families and individuals; the per capita income is $13,847, which is less than 50% of both the state average of $29,906 and the national average of $28,555. The city's poverty rate is double the state average. Rents and home prices have risen to the point that lower-skilled and lower-wage earners must live further away from their jobs. As a result, the lack of affordable housing has closed off the access to health and wellness, education and other benefits associated with a strong workforce.

NHS intends to continue to engage the community through the CSC by increasing the programs offered and the depth of those programs. Specific strategies include: building more affordable homes, hosting farmer's markets to support community wellness; workforce training and placement in agriculture, construction, and culinary jobs; and hosting financial empowerment workshops.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Our expected outcomes will make a vital difference for families and small businesses looking to increase access to neighborhood resources in South Los Angeles County. Annual goals include:

- Providing financial education and affordable housing services to 750 residents;

-Building 300 affordable homes and providing affordable mortgage opportunities;

- Expanding Neighborhood Revitalization Institute programming to engage 150 residents with community leadership training;

- Improving job readiness by 20% among 100 youth through PCR and METRO CDC job training programs;

- Expanding small business growth by 25% and creating incubator programs to serve 10 entrepreneurs/businesses, while lending to 20 small businesses;

- Enhancing healthy food options and outcomes by building 5 gardens and providing 300 residents with healthy living education;

- Providing job training to 60 residents;

- Hosting 8 farmer's markets to provide fresh nutritious food.

Gauging the success and impact of the project will require tracking data among partners and service providers that utilize the facility. NHS will work with partners to consolidate and filter impact data. Affiliated groups working through the Center will share all relevant statistics and deliverables data with NHS. NHS will serve as the central filter for evaluating the impacts and status of job training, homeowner education, financial education, and small business education programs.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

With an activation from LA2050, NHS positions itself to create strong neighborhoods over the next five years. Our hope is that every community we serve will have access to healthy, affordable food; financial literacy and economic opportunities; and affordable housing. Our Sustainable Communities Initiative will host 40 farmer's markets, develop 3.7 acres of agricultural space across five developments, train 750 community members in various trades with a 50% placement rate, train 1,250 residents in healthy living, and encourage financial literacy with our ongoing poverty prevention programs.

The vision driving our Initiative involves addressing a broad spectrum of issues. At the center of this focus is our commitment to promote strategies that create systemic, trans-formative change in under-served neighborhoods. This initiative will serve as a catalyst for broader goals to help low-to-moderate income families achieve economic prosperity, secure affordable housing, broaden access to resources, and incorporate green living.