In late May, the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Los Angeles County unveiled its Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) in the heart of the city of Compton. The center was built with recycled materials, LED lighting, and low water use toilets. The building is surrounded by drought tolerant landscaping and 21 raised plant beds for gardening workshops and health education.
“The vision of the center was a simple one, I asked the question what makes neighborhoods thrive, what makes a community exceptional and then I started filling in the blanks, faith, health, transit, housing, small business, economic development and conservation,” said President and CEO of NHS Los Angeles Lori Gay.
Gay’s vision is what she likes to call “a community development pie.”
“My concept was coming up with a way in a single facility, we could tie those things together so that people came in, got the basics of what they need and learn a good deal of information, because those are the things that make communities develop, thrive and prosper,” said Gay.
NHS along with partners Metro Community Development Corporation and Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation held a series of events from Saturday, May 20 through Saturday May 27 to kick off the grand opening celebration. The events included, a Compton Neighborhood Pride Day, Home Matters workshop, community leader’s breakfast, NHS corporate luncheon, and a community barbeque and ribbon cutting ceremony.
“What we intended to do was have a series of events that would include some of everybody. We had community leaders, residents, and volunteerism. The center is here as a community facility and to serve certain needs in the community,” said Gay.
The CSC, which is located at 1051 West Rosecrans Avenue, will include a Community Conservation Center, Community Technology Center, Financial Empowerment Center, health clinic, healthy living café, job training for youth and adults, an organic garden, public safety and enforcement drop in site, senior and after school programs, a small business center and incubator, and a vision clinic and 3D classroom.
Some of the major project donors include City National Bank, Major Properties and Pacific Western.
Currently, Gay is making plans to open another resource center in the San Fernando Valley and South Bay areas.
“The city of L.A. we’ll see, there certainly can be centers of this type in two or three places in L.A. but it is always a question of resources and what people are willing to invest and contribute to make it happen,” said Gay.
The CSC is officially open to the public for tours. To schedule a tour, volunteer at the center or participate in a workshop, please visit http://www.nhslacounty.org/