Over the last 35 years, the Community Development Commission of the county of Los Angeles has dedicated itself to advancing its core program areas: affordable housing and housing, community and economic development.
In 1982, the county Board of Supervisors merged three entities – the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, the Community Development Department, and the Redevelopment Agency – to form the CDC. Today, the CDC is comprised of two separate legal entities, HACoLA and the CDC.
For more than three decades, the two agencies have worked together to ensure families secure stable and affordable housing, increase employment opportunities, and provide access to safe, public spaces in the community.
The CDC prides itself on adapting to the evolving needs of the County and positioning itself to address myriad challenges. For example, in 1988, HACoLA recognized that its responsibility extended beyond putting a roof over tenants’ heads and implemented a support structure to offer onsite services designed to help public housing residents gain the confidence and skills to become self-sufficient.
Today, the Resident Services Program is flourishing with partner agencies offering daily services to public housing residents. Similar wraparound services are also offered in CDC-funded affordable housing developments and are a main component of HACoLA’s current homeless programs.
Further, in 1994, when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Northridge, the CDC and HACoLA mobilized to administer millions in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding to house displaced residents, assist business owners in keeping their operations going, and rebuild damaged infrastructure.
While disasters cannot be predicted, the CDC and HACoLA’s willingness to step up and lend a hand is unwavering, even if the disaster is thousands of miles away. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, HACoLA responded to the needs of displaced families by issuing Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Vouchers to place relocated persons into homes within Los Angeles County.
The CDC is proud to be on the ground every day transforming neighborhoods to improve the livability for all County residents. Within the past 10 years, the CDC has overseen the construction or rehabilitation of 13 community centers, 10 public libraries, four county parks, and three childcare centers.
Investing in safe, public spaces has been a longstanding priority for the CDC. For example, in 2008 the CDC helped fund the development of the La Alameda Shopping Center in Walnut Park, which removed an industrial eyesore and replaced it with an attractive commercial center that brought 500 jobs to the community. Nearly 10 years later, the complex still serves as a community landmark.
The CDC has remained a trusted resource for the Board, often called upon to administer programs and funding, and oversee projects from inception to completion. In 1997, the Board approved the CDC to oversee the County’s Traffic Violator School Monitoring Program. This untraditional relationship has flourished under the CDC, providing technical assistance, customer service, and monitoring services to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Further, in 2008, the United States found itself in the midst of a housing crisis and the number of foreclosures across the nation were skyrocketing – and Los Angeles was no exception. The Board tasked the CDC with implementing a Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program, which helped nearly 4,000 county residents remain in stable housing.
Most recently, the Board has called upon the CDC and HACoLA to be a key player in the County’s homeless initiative. The CDC and HACoLA are leaders or contributing agencies in 27 of the 51 strategies, and have developed award-winning approaches to housing homeless families, veterans, and individuals. In fact, since creating its homeless incentive programs in early 2016, more than 850 people have been housed.
“The agency’s spirit of partnership and ingenuity has paved the road for the successes it’s achieved over the last 35 years,” CDC Acting Executive Director Monique King-Viehland said. “As an agency we constantly assess the needs of the County and position ourselves to address those needs.”
As the agency commemorates its 35th year, it acknowledges the struggles it has had to overcome throughout the years, from drastic budget cuts and political changes in Washington D.C. to funding and programmatic changes in California.
However, these obstacles pale in comparison to the dedication and perseverance of the agency and its employees. The CDC and HACoLA have proven that the two entities are stronger together, and look forward to continuing to work in unison to fulfill the agency’s mission to “Build Better Lives and Better Neighborhoods.”