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Despite mainstream media portrayals of places like skid row, we have witnessed and initiated numerous campaigns that challenged these negative views of this and other neighborhoods and their inhabitants. Experiential knowledge and the neighborhood’s diversity have produced numerous solutions to community problems. Creating forums for input and participation are essential to utilizing this oftentimes untapped resource as well as building and strengthening neighborhood ties. To this end, our programs include an array of activities and has spearheaded numerous campaigns.
Nuisance abatement has been one of our strongest ongoing campaigns by utilizing the City’s regulatory process to hold irresponsible business owners accountable. This is a powerful tool for decreasing drug-related activity by placing remedial operational conditions on local institutions and/or forcing them to close. Community members monitor locations, document problems, attend public hearings, meet with local elected officials, partner with law enforcement, and protest government inaction. This increased civic participation serves as a buffer to risk factors and is the spark that inspires positive neighborhood change.
Implementing prevention measures is our goal. Prior to an institution becoming a public nuisance we become proactive in shaping policies. The initial request for a permit to sell alcohol provides an opportunity to suggest operational conditions that may prevent the store from becoming a future problem. We have also worked with local government agencies and major developers to create specific plans addressing multiple alcohol uses in the same project. This partnership has led to model revitalization projects that regulate alcohol venues and is the impetus for the report, Using Alcohol to Fuel Community Revitalization: A Cautionary Tale.
Our work is led by coalition members dedicated to neighborhood improvement. They have collected petitions, conducted street clean-ups, and hosted community events. Community members work to protect their community. We also host numerous alcohol and other drug free alternative activities that include but are not limited to the photography club, a streetball league meeting, a senior activity, and a cultural study group.