live / 2020

The Sustainable Communities Initiative

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County

Utilizing a place-based, collective-impact approach to comprehensive community development, SCI provides a wide array of services and resources that help mitigate social, economic, health and environmental stressors that have historically caused barriers for LMI community members to fully thrive in their communities. As the cornerstone of SCI, the NHS Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) serves as a “one-stop-shop” for community empowerment.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • Compton

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Alma Backyard Farms
  • Pacific Coast Regional SBDC
  • Metro CDC
  • Watts Health Foundation
  • City of Compton

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

•Metro CDC: personal development classes to assist formerly incarcerated individuals and at-risk youth to navigate obstacles that can block success *Pacific Coast Regional SBDC: SBA certified Community Advantage lender, CDFI, and SBDC who provides technical assistance, training and 1:1 business consulting for entrepreneurs and growing businesses with onsite business incubator *Watts Health Foundation as a FQHC provides access to behavioral health, trauma, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, and wellness checks *City of Compton will provide infrastructure upgrades along with public safety and planning that support affordable housing, commercial development, and transit improvements *Alma Backyard Farms: urban agribusiness training for area residents and provides families with healthy foods

What is the need you’re responding to?

For most LMI communities, steadily increasing housing costs and stagnant or decreasing incomes create barriers to achieving the community health equity. The economic instability faced by these communities prevents local residents from easily accessing dependable transit, healthy food, affordable homes and capital. Systemic barriers of historical discrimination, racism and classism have marginalized these disenfranchised communities and created an imbalance of power and privilege. The well-being of residents in LMI communities suffers from a lack of community investment, which inhibits development, limits access to employment, income, education and wealth.

SCI partners are focused on developing a shared vision among residents and community stakeholders, and identifying key strategies for creating a more vibrant and equitable community for the residents of Compton and other LMI communities. The CSC is a space for healing the community trauma wrought from years of inequity.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

The SCI team is well-suited due to each of the organizations’ historic ability to serve as a catalyst in community development. Combining our work to have collective impact is the most effective path to achieve successful outcomes. NHS serves as the region’s largest affordable homeownership provider, having loaned, developed or rehabilitated more than 25,000 units. PCR is the largest SBDC in the region, serving more than 7,000 business clients with training, affordable business loans and 1:1 business coaching. Metro CDC in Compton for more than 25 years, has provided youth and family interventions, construction jobs for boys and men of color, creating urban gardens and social entrepreneurs. Watts Health Foundation has served the southeastern portion of the region for more than 50 years with low cost healthcare, and Alma Backyard Farms reconnects the lives of the formerly incarcerated back to the fabric of society through urban agriculture, gainful employment and job training programs.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

15,000
Direct impact
95,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Public policies are often enacted under the guise of creating new public spaces, combatting blight, or bolstering economic development. But over time, these policies have stripped minority communities of the wealth and financial stability found in property ownership and owning small businesses.

A core component of SCI is providing access to the 99% minority population of Compton. Historically, minority LMI neighborhoods have been provided high cost, predatory loans for business and housing, poor health access, limited food options and have suffered educational disparities. SCI is expanding opportunity by offering financial and business education, low cost, affordable loans and healthcare, urban agriculture, and workforce development.

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

By 2020, NHS will have expanded its loan production by 15% and PCR by 15%. By 2021 NHS hopes to raise an additional $30 million in capital for program leverage, and by 2022 plans to enter escrow on 6 land banking sites for development near transit.

Our partners envision that SCI will deliver a systemic, replicable model with programming and service delivery that can be utilized in similar LMI communities throughout the country. In order to achieve the desired long-term social impact that NHS envisions for the City of Compton, SCI’s objectives include:

  • Blight mitigation and comprehensive neighborhood revitalization
  • Increase neighborhood investment and small business capital in TOD neighborhoods to connect residents to economic opportunity
  • Support urban agricultural, agribusiness, and local farmers. Increase access to healthy foods to increase food security
  • Develop greener mixed-use residential and commercial development in the neighborhood, acquire 6 additional blighted properties
  • Increase social capital, improve quality of life in the community, preserve culture, heritage and legacy neighborhoods

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Food insecurity
  • Housing affordability
  • Resilient communities

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Strategy assistance and implementation