Center for Sustainable Communities opens in Compton
The Center for Sustainable Communities offers comprehensive community development services
NHS CEO Lori Gay (left) speaks on a panel with Metro CDC CEO Mike Herman, and PCR Small Business Development Center Director Constance Anderson. Photo: Neighborhood Housing Services
Center began in 2014 when Neighborhood Housing Services envisioned multiple public service resources under one roof
COMPTON — Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County (NHS), along with partners Metro Community Development Corporation, and Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation, celebrated the grand opening of the new Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC), in May 2017.
Located at 1051 W. Rosecrans Ave. [MAP], the CSC is part of the NHS Sustainable Communities Initiative, a comprehensive push towards holistic and sustainable placemaking and community development.
The CSC project began in early 2014 when NHS was first shown an abandoned grocery store in the vicinity of Gonzalez Park, Compton Fire Station No. 3, St. Philip Lutheran Church, and the South Bay Retirement Residence nearby Washington Elementary School.
NHS saw an opportunity, envisioning a center that combined health, housing, employment, conservation, entrepreneurship, and public safety resources under one roof.
“We imagined a building in bright colors, surrounded by green space, and gardens where folks could simply come pick the food they needed. Two-and-a-half years later, that vision has become a reality,” said NHS President and CEO Lori Gay. “This is a place for the community. It’s a place for them to bring their families, get the help they need and then go out and share it with someone else. The Center provides the answer to what makes a neighborhood great and sustainable.”
Grand opening events kicked off with Compton Neighborhood Pride Day on May 20, where 150 volunteers and L.A. Conservation Corps members provided landscaping, painting, and planted trees and garden beds at three local residences.
Elsewhere at CSC, NHS hosted “Home Matters,” a quarterly slate of workshops designed to help community members purchase homes, upgrade their homes, avoid foreclosure, and manage their finances.
CSC is set apart by its comprehensive community development service offerings. The “one-stop shop” for community empowerment will eventually host a Community Conservation Center, Community Technology Center, Financial Empowerment Center, health clinic, healthy living café, job training for youth and adults, organic garden, public safety and enforcement drop in site, senior and after-school programs, and a vision clinic and 3D classroom.
Currently, it hosts the NHS Financial Empowerment Center, PCR Small Business Development Center, and Metro CDC youth development, education and gardening programs.
NHS has actively pursued sustainability in the construction process.
The new center is an adaptive reuse of the original store, built with recycled materials, and uses LED lighting and low water use toilets to minimize electricity and water consumption. The center is adjoined by drought tolerant landscaping and raised planting beds, built and managed by CSC partner Metro CDC.