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LA Forward

Director of Equitable Planning

Employment type
about 1 month ago
Los Angeles

We’re seeking a Director of Equitable Planning to lead a collaborative effort to support equitable development and housing justice, especially in Southeast LA County and the San Gabriel Valley. 

With the housing crisis as bad as it has ever been, LA Forward is starting a Project to support Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to effectively advocate for equitable planning in the cities along Metro’s new transit lines. We see equitable planning as support for advancing fair housing in higher-income areas and in lower-income areas, backing an array of policies that will lead to production of housing targeted to the local population most in need, along with affordable housing preservation and tenant protection policies. This Project will leverage the Housing Element update process and the rollout of LA Metro’s Transit-Oriented Communities program. The Director will lead this Project, under the guidance of LA Forward’s Executive Director, and in close coordination with our partners in equitable planning work. 

This is a unique opportunity for the right person to tackle the housing crisis head on. We’re looking to hire someone who’s passionate about equitable development, committed to racial and economic justice, and equally talented at understanding wonky zoning policy, leading community education sessions, and building relationships and coalitions. Comfort and familiarity with the communities of SELA and/or the SGV are especially prized.

Responsibilities and Duties:
The Director’s primary role will be to set up, run, and take bottom-line responsibility for our Equitable Planning Program, which centers on building the knowledge, experience, and capacity of CBOs in cities along new transit lines in SELA and the SGV to effective engage in municipal planning, housing, and land use processes.

This includes work to:

  • Identify CBOs for possible collaboration on equitable development and develop relationships and partnerships with them.
  • Host a series of teach-ins, workshops, and train-the-trainer sessions on the housing element update process to develop a cohort of community members and groups who can effectively intervene in the city planning and housing policy-making process.
  • Build relationships with municipal officials and connect them to resources including sample policies/plans and offer “light touch” technical assistance with policy design matters by bringing in key LA Forward partners.
  • Organize and mobilize CBOs and other groups of community members to provide comments and feedback on the target cities’ housing policies and plans, including proposed housing element updates.
  • Help CBOs to seek funding from the new Metro TOC program to engage community members in developing equitable development and anti-displacement policies/plans.
  • Lead a second wave of educational workshops to deepen community knowledge of equitable development and to alert them to the opportunities related to the Metro TOC program.
  • Create educational materials for distribution on the web based on these workshops.
  • Support the ED on grant-reporting and grant-writing work related to this project.
  • Respond to media requests.


In addition to running this program, the Director will take on several broader organizational responsibilities. This includes work to:

  • Represent LA Forward in regional equitable development/housing justice spaces such as ACT-LA, Healthy LA, and/or Housing Now.
  • Serve as an expert resource to LA Forward community members in their work on civic education, policy formulation, and community organizing within LA City, especially as it relates to equitable  development and housing justice. 
  • Help to write and edit materials about equitable planning and policy development more broadly.


Qualifications for the Ideal Candidate:

  • At least 4 years of experience working on urban planning issues, developing relationships with community organizations, and leading educational workshops.
  • Degree in urban planning or related field or equivalent experience.
  • Deeply knowledgeable about municipal housing and planning policy, including tenant protections, inclusionary zoning, and other mechanisms to advance equity.
  • Experience with conceiving, designing, planning and leading trainings to make complicated technical matters accessible to a broad public audience.
  • Experience with developing written or multimedia educational materials
  • Ability to establish respectful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and to work effectively in collaboration.
  • Track record of thinking strategically and building strong relationships across organizations, with elected officials and with community members.
  • Experience with researching and mapping the political/social movement landscapes.
  • Experience with working with grassroots organizers and following the lead of community leaders.
  • Experience with building coalitions and generating alignment among organizations.
  • Experience with developing policy proposals based on community priorities.
  • Experience with supporting advocacy campaigns.
  • Ability to develop relationships with elected officials and city planners.
  • Familiarity, positive relationships, and comfort working with the diverse communities of Southeast LA and the San Gabriel Valley.
  • Successful record of managing multiple priority projects at the same time with minimal need for supervision.
  • Excellent writing and speaking skills.
  • Self-starter and self-directed.
  • Highly motivated, hard worker who takes bottom-line responsibility for project success.
  • Ability and willingness to work some evening/weekend hours is expected.
  • Positive, solution-oriented attitude.
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial and economic justice and to achieving results for marginalized communities.
  • Ability to use basic software and a computer for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to travel across large reaches of LA County, either with a combination of a driver’s license/working automobile/insurance or another feasible alternative.


Preferred Qualifications

  • An advanced degree in urban planning or related field is useful but equivalent experience is also welcome.
  • Ability to speak Spanish fluently.
  • Experience with grant-reporting and grant-writing.
  • Experience responding to media requests.


Terms and Compensation

  • Full-time exempt position.
  • Work expected on some evenings and weekends
  • Job title and compensation level is dependent on years of experience. The salary range for the Director of Equitable Planning is $62,000-85,000.
  • Benefits package that includes comprehensive health/dental insurance as well as paid holidays (including Dec 24. - Jan. 1), generous vacation time, and sick leave.
  • Currently all work is remote. In person community workshops will likely begin in late summer 2021. The job-holder will have the option to work out of a co-working space or from home.
  • This position is currently funded for 14 months, but is intended to extend beyond.


Bottom Line

  • This is a unique opportunity to help communities in Southeast LA County and the San Gabriel Valley work toward fair housing and equitable community planning! 
  • We’re looking to hire someone who is smart, kind, passionate about this cause and committed to taking full responsibility for getting the job done. If that sounds like you, we encourage and welcome your application!
  • Women, people of color, and members of disadvantaged groups encouraged to apply. Applications from people with deep ties to Southeast LA County are especially welcome.


About LA Forward
LA Forward is 501(c)3 nonprofit that fights for a Los Angeles County which is fair and flourishing for everyone. We seek to make local issues accessible and to hold local government accountable for advancing justice. We focus on building power for coalitions and campaigns anchored in communities most impacted by racial and economic injustice.

To apply

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume in PDF format to [email protected] no later than April 26, 2021. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Please include your last name in the filename of the PDF. 

Your cover letter of 1-2 pages should discuss why you’re a good fit for this job and positioned to ensure this project succeeds.