CII Awarded $5 Million as Part of Larger Investment in Watts

April 28, 2020
Ryan Imondi

Children’s Institute has been awarded $5 million to focus on services that will help improve the health, economic stability and educational attainment of residents in Watts. This funding represents a larger partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) that will bring $35 million in new investments to revitalize Watts.

In late 2019, CII joined HACLA in its proposal to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant. CII found out last week that our proposal was awarded the funding, which will help transform Watts and focus on the redevelopment and expansion of 700 public housing units into 1,569 units at the Jordan Downs development where CII has a large presence through our Behavioral Health & Wellness and Early Childhood Education programs.

CII’s President & CEO Martine Singer said the award marks another step forward for the community of Watts. In early 2020, CII broke ground on a new Frank Gehry-designed Watts Campus that will house critical therapeutic programs and a variety of supports for children and families.

“CII is deeply committed to the children and families of Watts, and thrilled to be a partner on this critical initiative that will empower the community for years to come,” Singer said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press release that while the city applied for the funding prior to the current COVID-19 crisis, it is the right moment to receive support for a community that will greatly benefit from these resources.

“At a moment when so many people are hurting, it is essential that we keep investing in our communities and sustain the momentum of the neighborhood-based transformation underway in Watts,” said Mayor Garcetti.

This effort will be supported by over 30 partners that include the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital Foundation, and Partnership for Los Angeles Schools among many others.

As the lead entity for the “People” component of the plan, CII will coordinate services for Jordan Downs residents including mental health support, managing a newly created People Center and organizing community resource fairs.

“This is a significant opportunity for community transformation both for the residents of Jordan Downs and Watts broadly,” said Danette McBride, CII’s Vice President of Community Innovations . “I am thrilled that CII, as the People lead, will be an integral component of the process.”

Over the coming months, CII will share more information about the project. Implementation of these services will begin in 2021.