What are Neighborhood Councils?
Neighborhood Councils are the closest form of government to the people. They give their communities a voice at City Hall on important issues like development, homelessness, and public safety.
Neighborhood Councils are advisory bodies with annual budgets funded by taxpayer dollars. Board members are City officials who are elected by those who live, work, or own property or a business in the community that a Council represents, and they donate their time and service as volunteers.
The Neighborhood Council system was established in 1999 as a way of ensuring that the City government remains responsive to the different needs and lifestyles of Los Angeles’ rich variety of communities. There are currently 99 Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles, each serving about 40,000 people.
- Join a committee – Neighborhood Council committees meet monthly on topics like land use, public safety, transportation, outreach, homelessness and sustainability. Committee members need not be members of the NC’s board. Being a committee member allows you to focus on specific issues and create impact in a limited amount of time.
- Fill a board vacancy – Neighborhood Council board members are elected every two years, but in between elections, board seats may become vacant if members become unable to fulfill their entire term of service. Vacant seats are then filled by someone who serves the remaining two to four-year term. Use our form above if you’d like to learn about available vacancies or be alerted if they arise.
- Volunteer – help your Neighborhood Council via short-term commitments that fit your busy schedule. Projects may include event staffing, community cleanups, social media, or graphic design.
- Attend your Neighborhood Council’s monthly meeting – visit http://tiny.cc/NCagendas to sign up to receive meeting agendas by email
- Get on your Neighborhood Council’s email list for their latest news and announcements – sign up on your NC’s website, which you can get the link to through this search tool: http://tiny.cc/FindMyNC
- Be the first to know about programs and project proposals that affect your community by joining the mailing list
- Get heard on the issues you care about most by attending meetings
- Build your resume by joining a board or committee. Get free training on marketable skills like community organizing or ethical handling of public funds.
- Gain valuable experience to qualify for other roles – volunteering with your Neighborhood Council can demonstrate your ability to serve in positions of greater responsibility. LA City Controller Ron Galperin and District 4 City Councilmember Nithya Raman both began their political careers as board or committee members of their local Neighborhood Councils.
- Neighborhood Councils have had tremendous impact on the quality of life of the communities they serve.
- Community Advocacy – Seven Neighborhood Councils negotiated community benefits in exchange for the damage done when Space Shuttle Endeavor was moved through City streets. They secured replacements for cut trees, and funds for scholarships, sidewalk repair, and teacher development training.
- Youth Advocacy – Neighborhood Councils have created opportunities for LA’s youth, with events like Northwest San Pedro’s annual Pathways To Employment job fair, and with board and committee seats reserved especially for youth, such as Sunland-Tujunga’s Youth Committee.
- Public Safety – besides the annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair – which was planned with the help of 41 Neighborhood Councils and which drew over 5000 attendees – many Neighborhood Councils host their own local emergency preparedness events.
- Transportation – Mid City West Community Council’s Bike Friendly Streets Plan was awarded $2.1 million in Metro funding and an additional $400,000 by the City of Los Angeles
Check out some highlights below and see more Neighborhood Council accomplishments by clicking the graphics on this page: https://empowerla.org/art-exhibit/
EmpowerLA – aka the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment – supports the City’s Neighborhood Council system. Learn more about EmpowerLA.