Although only funded to provide housing, HACLA has a long history of seeking grants, partnerships and leveraging opportunities to support healthy communities by providing recreational, social and other supportive services to improve residents' quality of life. However, reduced public funding has limited what partners and grants can provide.
For more than 30 years, HACLA and the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) have partnered to provide free recreation services to residents in seven of HACLA's 14 public housing communities. Beginning in July 2011, however, City budget difficulties required HACLA to use its funds to subsidize RAP in order to continue providing recreation services in the public housing communities. RAP's budget situation then worsened to a level that HACLA could no longer afford to fund.
To turn this fiscalchallenge into a program success, HACLA selected new service providers through a combination of competitive bidding and forging new partnerships with community social service groups. The result was four new partnerships to provide services in four public housing communities in different areas of the city:
- Boys and Girls Club of Mar Vista Gardens now provides educational and recreational services on-site. The Boys and Girls Club was able to hire more residents and increased services provided to the community.
- Proyecto Pastoral now operates the Pico Gardens Gymnasium serving residents of Pico Gardens, Las Casitas and the surrounding community.
- Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Division Police Activities League (PAL) operates programs in the Pueblo del Rio gymnasium.
- Youth Policy Institute now operates the San Fernando Gardens Community Center, including its computer learning center, and provides a wide range of services.
- The Los Angeles Police Department’s Community Safety Partnership has partnered with the Housing Authority to field a team of boys and girls from the Nickerson Gardens, Imperial Courts, and Jordan Downs Public Housing Developments. The Watts Bears football team is comprised of some of the best and talented youth, ranging from ages 8 to 12 years old. The Watts Bears was created in an effort to provide a safe and positive outlet for well deserving kids who may not have an opportunity to play sports and mentor. To be eligible to participate, the kids have to meet certain standards in school, stay out of trouble and wants to be a part of the program.
To learn more, please visit the Watts Bears website