The EmpowerLA Awards, which was held last Thursday, honored specific Neighborhood Councils (by region) for the best projects of 2018. The winners were voted on by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners. Here are the winners and a description of their projects:
EAST — ARROYO SECO
ASNC made valuable inroads with a neighborhood schools, creating an awareness of the council and its mission of serving the stakeholders in the community.
Cleland Park was a designated pocket park in Mt Washington that had become an “unofficial dog park.” There were a lot of upset locals, dog owners wanted the park to be off-leash, while parents wanted a clear demarcation between a “dog area” and a “children’s area.” After a year of well attended contentious meetings, an incredible amount of planning, and civic engagement, the park has been redesigned to great success. Committed group of parents and dog owners came together, worked with the city to add fencing, new signs and design a brand new playground, achieving a solution that has truly succeeded in making Cleland Park something every local can be proud of.
The ASNC continued their work by creating a connection between a local school, Young Storytellers Program and volunteers to help set up a program in which all 5th graders in the school are able to learn about screenwriting. The ANNC utilized meeting time and social medial to increase outreach and participation. The success of this initial program has encouraged the ASNC to expand the program to our other area schools.
HARBOR — COASTAL SAN PEDRO
The formation of the Council District 15 Working Group for Homelessness allowed Coastal San Pedro Homelessness Committee to leverage the voices of all the Neighborhood Councils in support of Mayor Garcetti A Bridge Home Project. The group was instrumental in bringing the facts directly from the Councilman’s office and City on the issues and efforts being made to address homelessnesss to all of the Neighborhood Councils. In May of 2018, Coastal San Pedro NC initiated – along with several other NC’s in the Council District – the first district-wide Working Group on Homelessness to empower stakeholders to engage in this work directly and share information and resources to other stakeholders in a more timely and informed manner — seeking to advance the City’s homeless initiatives in a hyper-local setting. This group has been recognized by the Mayor’s office personally as the first group of this type in the city. Without hyper-local, grassroots leadership and education, implementing solutions to alleviate and solve our homeless crisis has been near-impossible. This group is a model of effective collaboration. By leveraging the structures that already exist, it is seeking to help solve one of our City’s most complex issues — starting in our community.
SOUTH LA — WATTS
In collaboration with SenseLA and WattsUp Promotions, Watts NC initiated the Watts Renaissance Initiative to galvanize community and civic engagement in a series of artistic team-building interactive workshops. Workshops focuses on community issues in a unique fashion while implementing a technique designed by MIT educators to connect the community to the government utilizing fast paced approaches similarly used in robotics.
The Watts NC-Watts Committee to End Homelessness initiative worked to advocate for a 100 Bed Bridge Housing site in the community for those chronic homelessness living in a place not meant for human habitation. Becoming an early adopter of the Mayor’s Bridge Housing Initiative The Committee also sparked the first City district coalition “CD15 Homeless Working Group”. To help community feedback and advances city policies.
CENTRAL — HOLLYWOOD UNITED
HUNC-Homelessness Committee negotiated with a local laundromat, Wash on Western, to accept $5 vouchers good for one wash and dry at their facility during non peak periods. They negotiated with a local non profit serving the homeless, A Million Drops to manage the vouchers by accepting HUNC funds, and then reimbursing the laundromat and create reports to show HUNC how many vouchers were being redeemed monthly.
The Board distributed to homeless on the streets and through the local nonprofits who serve the homeless. To date HUNC has issued and redeemed $1250 worth of vouchers, providing 250 people experiencing homelessness clean clothes and sleeping bags. HUNC also provides portable showers through funding of A Million Drops at the Hollywood Adventist Church for hundreds of homeless every year. These programs help the homeless feel more secure and clean, to pursue jobs, and social services.
These programs help hundreds of homeless feel more secure and clean, to pursue jobs, and social services.
NORTH VALLEY — SYLMAR
Sylmar residents have unfortunately come to realize that the natural beauty of our mountains and hills also means that we run the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The Sand, Sayre and more recent Creek fire are the most recent examples of that disaster potential. Sylmar was clearly in need of a focused effort to promote citizen preparedness. Those efforts included educational programs and over the last two year the Sylmar NC-Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) has implemented a Sylmar Preparedness Education program by offering disaster preparedness education at each monthly committee meeting. Working in partnership with LA Fire CERT Program, American Red Cross, LA City EMD Office and other Neighborhood Councils have included programs that offered First Aid Earthquake Preparedness, Wildfire Preparedness, and Ham Radio. Over the last two years this program alone has reached well over 500 residents. Additionally, they have co-sponsored the Smoke Alarm Installation project and serviced 200 homes. The Sylmar NC has also reached out to 100 local businesses. Continued efforts have led to the creation of a Sylmar Map Your Neighborhood program. Over 400 residents have already been reached. The committee recently completed a bi-lingual “Equestrian Version” of the MAP Your Neighborhood program.
SOUTH VALLEY — WESTHILLS
Over the past year the West Hills Neighborhood Council has held various public safety forums, where government agencies, non-profits, and organizations are in attendance and provide information in a range of topics. Through these events, stakeholders are aware of the different government programs and projects. It has also lead to stakeholders being involved in the Neighborhood Watch system and provide support to the West Hills Homeless Count. West Hills Neighborhood Board Members are driven to engage and keep the community informed on various projects. The board of directors are driven to make the Neighborhood Council more inclusive and transparent to its stakeholders. West Hills Neighborhood Council maintains strong relationships with local businesses and schools.
WEST LA — BEL AIR-BEVERLY CREST
Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Planning & Land Use Committee (PLUC) meetings attract a lot of people and are very lively and educational. BABCNC reaches interested stakeholders via email blasts, physical postings and website. At the meetings, plans are put on easels and are passed around and discussed in minute detail. All attendees are treated with dignity and respect and made to feel valued. The BABCNC works cohesively and succinctly to provide opportunities for stakeholders to participate in city government with a positive outcome.
Additionally, the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council held a Skirball Fire Town Hall on January 31, 2018, to provide information to their stakeholders about the City’s emergency response and recovery process following the Skirball Fire. Attendees engaged in dialogue Council Members, City Departments and other Agencies to discuss how the community can assist in fire mitigation, emergency preparation and alleviating homelessness. The BABCNC continued thier work by filing a CIS supporting Councilmember Koretz’s motion to have LAHSA, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, CalTrans and departments look at the issue of this fire’s origin being that of a homeless encampment.