Healthier Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors

Over the past decade, SAJE has worked in collaboration with Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, as well as other community partners, to develop comprehensive approaches to public health and wellness that included community and tenant education and engagement and public health strategies to combat one of the most pervasive determinants of poor health in South LA, substandard and slum housing conditions.

The result of this work was groundbreaking, and brought to light the critical connections between substandard housing, and the health of South Los Angeles residents. The collaborative has identified a broad array of slum-housing induced diseases (i.e. asthma, chronic skin conditions, lead poisoning, etc.) and works with tenants to act upon and rectify the housing conditions that are making them sick. The most severely impacted victims of this public health crisis are the children who live in these buildings. Children are more susceptible to a range of debilitating diseases such as asthma, lead poisoning, and chronic skin conditions that have a negative and long lasting impact on their physical and mental development and their ability to function and thrive in daily activities, such as school or sports.

The collaborative has been lauded as a model of effective community partnership, and was featured in the California Endowment’s 2008 Annual Report. The work of the collaborative has been funded by, among others, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The Everychild Foundation, and The California Community Foundation.


Community Jobs

you're hired!Figueroa Corridor Community Jobs Program ensures that residents from the Figueroa Corridor are prepared for the jobs that will be generated by investment in the Figueroa Corridor -- especially the 2,750 jobs generated by the LA Live development and guaranteed by the Staples Agreement.

In 2004, SAJE kicked off the pilot of the Figueroa Corridor Community Jobs Program, a pipeline program that provides low-income community residents with job training in the hospitality industry and building trades.

Since 2004, we have served more than 600 local residents and currently teach about 80 workers through five classes including our signature Economic Survival class, ESL, and computer literacy. We work with organizations like PV Jobs, Abram Friedman Vocational Center, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and the WorkSource Center to provide our participants with training and support that will have the most benefit to their particular situation, and will increase their local employment options. 

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visions for vermontUNIDAD—United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement—is a campaign committed to future development of South LA that includes and benefits all members of the community.

 UNIDAD was launched by the Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice, a strong, proud, and diverse alliance with a history of building successful partnerships that secure real community benefits from urban development.

Over the past ten years, hundreds of families and scores of small businesses—meaning thousands of local residents and workers—have been forced to leave their community due to skyrocketing rents, slum conditions, tenant harassment, job loss, and housing discrimination. Now, after decades of neglect and mistreatment, thousands more low-income residents and workers stand to be displaced by the institutions and individuals whose actions, or inaction, have caused this crisis.

 We can stop that from happening. We are at a crossroads. We have a unique opportunity to stop displacement—of families, of workers, of businesses—without stopping growth and development. Through public planning now underway, we can set guidelines for smart growth that is also fair growth, and neighborhood development that is true community development. We can improve more than just our buildings and streets; we can improve the lives of the people who live and work in our neighborhoods—the old and the new, the rooted and the recent. By taking our rightful place in the planning of our neighborhoods, we can transform a history of exclusion into a present and future of participation, cooperation, and shared prosperity.


Right To The City

All across the U.S., working class neighborhoods and Black, Latino and Asian people are being displaced from our cities at a scale not seen since the abuses of urban renewal in the 1960s. Sky-rocketing rents, mass evictions, low-wage jobs have eroded vibrant historic communities that are being replaced with luxury condominiums, shopping centers, and tourist attractions.

Right to the City (RTTC) is an alliance of base-building organizations from cities across the country as well as researchers, academics, lawyers, and other allies.  We came together in January of 2007 to build a united response to gentrification and the drastic changes imposed on our cities. We stand together under the notion of a Right to the City for all.

SAJE is a founding organization and active member of Right To The City.


Health and Human Rights

SAJE is a co-convener of the South Los Angeles Health and Human Rights Conference, held annually on December 10th - International Human Rights Day.


South Los Angeles, formerly known as South Central Los Angeles, encompasses nearly 100 square miles and is generally considered to include the communities located south of the Santa Monica Freeway, east of LA Brea Avenue, and north of the Century Freeway. With more than one million residents, South Los Angeles is home to many historic neighborhoods, including Leimert Park, the Crenshaw District, Morningside Park, West Adams, Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, Baldwin Hills, Inglewood and Lynwood.

Long-standing structural violence have led to deep inequities in the health care and physical environment in South Los Angeles. These inequities, in turn, have led to and been worsened by poor health and social outcomes.

In South LA,

  • 30% of adults are uninsured
  • There are 8.5 liquor stores per square mile compared to 0.10 large-scale supermarkets per square-mile
  • 37% of households are overcrowded
  • 64% of schools are insufficiently staffed, resourced, and without a clean, safe and functional learning environment
  • 91% of homeless residents are unsheltered
  • 14.1% of residents are unemployed, which more than double the rate in West Los Angeles
  • Homicide is the leading cause of premature death.
  • In 2004, 40% of homicides in Los Angeles County occurred in South LA.
  • Five South LA emergency rooms have closed since 2000.
  • Only one full-scale ER/trauma center remains to serve over one million residents in a nearly 100 square mile area
  • There are 0.11 school-based health centers per 1000 uninsured children.

Residents of South LA and those who serve them know that silo-based approaches that lack true community participation, monitoring, and accountability have failed to reduce inequities and improve health. In contrast, many well-developed community-led human rights approaches have produced measurable improvements around the world, including within the US. For instance, the movements for labor, civil rights, and women's rights have led to major improvements in people's lives in South LA.

Once a year, South Los Angeles-based residents, service providers, and advocates join with colleagues from across the world to discuss how a health and human rights framework can lead to the change we need.