Mayor Garcetti spent Friday traveling through the community, beginning at the corner of 116th Street and Avalon Boulevard, where he met with a small group of residents to share stories of their experience. After a visit to the Watts Labor Community Action Committee headquarters where he spoke to students from local high schools about the importance of education, Garcetti met with the resident leaders of Jordan Downs to discuss on-site programs such as the Mommy & Me child development classes and express his hopes for the community’s future.
In Watts alone, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) provides nearly 2,500 households with affordable housing. Some of our communities have been in Watts since the World War II.
The road to progress comes with great challenges, but the changes we have seen in Watts over the years have shown us that the community must participate in a productive dialogue to help come up with sustainable solutions. The Watts Gang Task Force serves as a great example of how collaboration has been used as a catalyst for change. In 2005, Former Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn called a meeting of community leaders, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), school representatives, service providers, gang intervention workers and city departments including the Housing Authority to work together to decrease violence in the area. Fast forward ten years and HACLA staff continue to take part in weekly meetings.
Following the riots, the McCone report identified their root causes and made recommendations for addressing these problems including "emergency literacy and preschool programs, improved police-community ties, increased low-income housing, more job-training projects, upgraded health-care services, and more efficient public transportation”. The Housing Authority has been working on many of these issues to improve access and enhance resources.
We are also working on extending Century Boulevard through Jordan Downs public housing and link it with Alameda. This layout will integrate Jordan Downs to the rest of the community and allow for better commerce. A planned commercial retail project near Jordan Downs is expected to provide over 200 full-time jobs.
There is still a lot of work to do, not just in Watts, but across the City to level the playing field so all Angelenos can have equity in access as well as opportunities to increase quality of life.
Please read the New York Times article, Watts, 50 Years on, Stands in Contrast to Today’s Conflicts.