South Los Angeles community recognized with $20,000 national safety award

  South Los Angeles community recognized with $20,000 national safety award

PR Newswire

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16, 2013

MetLife Foundation honors alliance to reduce crime and create quality housing
in Vernon Central

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Community development
leaders along with the Los Angeles Police Department are being recognized with
a national MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award tomorrow for
greatly improving the safety and vitality of South LA's Vernon Central

WHAT: Vernon Central Celebrates National Community Safety Award
WHEN: Thursday, October 17, 11:00am
WHERE: The Dunbar Hotel, 4225 South Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90011

As communities around the state wrap up earthquake drills as part of the Great
Shake-Out, neighbors in Vernon Central will also celebrate hard won stability
and tranquility around the historic Dunbar Hotel and Somerville Residential
Communities– once an epicenter of crime and violence in the community that has
been rehabilitated by Thomas Safran & Associates (TSA) into quality affordable
housing for seniors and families. The Coalition for Responsible Community
Development, All Peoples Community Center and the Los Angeles Police
Department are being honored with TSA by MetLife Foundation for their
extraordinary partnership to improve community safety at an 11:00am ceremony
at 4225 South Central Avenue.

The LA partners were selected from more than 540 applicants for a MetLife
Foundation Award, a program administered by the Local Initiatives Support
Corporation (LISC). The partners' achievements – including renovation of the
Dunbar Hotel and the two adjacent Somerville Residential Communities, which
contributed to a 30% drop in violent crime in the area from 2011-2013 – caught
the attention of the national selection committee comprised of police
commanders, community development executives and LISC staff.

"Collaboration between community-based groups and police departments can
reduce crime, stimulate housing and business activity, and improve the quality
of life in lower-income neighborhoods," said Dennis White, president and CEO
of MetLife Foundation. "The Los Angeles partnership is an exemplary model for
groups nationwide facing similar challenges and opportunities."

The re-opening of the Dunbar Hotel in June received significant attention from
those who recalled its heyday as an icon in Los Angeles African-American
history, and Central Avenue's Jazz, R&B and Blues music scene in particular.
The MetLife Foundation Award shines a spotlight on a less told part of the
story: the collaboration between police officers, community advocates and a
private developer that made reclamation of the Dunbar and surrounding blocks
from rampant crime and violence possible. 

Working closely with LAPD, TSA physically overhauled the properties,
addressing the design problems that contributed to poor security, while
working to evict problem residents and support others. With support from CRCD
and All Peoples, the project created employment opportunities for neighborhood
residents, a space for an after-school program, a playground and community
rooms. Residents also enjoy educational workshops and social activities on a
regular basis.

The renamed "Dunbar Village" now offers 41 units of affordable housing for
families and an additional 40 units of housing for low-income seniors with
beautiful landscaping, secure parking and abundant community spaces. Crime
drops in the area have outpaced gains in other LA neighborhoods that did not
benefit from such a concerted, public-private effort for community renewal.

"We want to thank Metlife and LISC for this generous award for the residents
of Dunbar Village. This funding will be applied towards an after-school
program to provide a safe learning environment focused on improving grades
with the ultimate goal of graduating high school and going to college," said
Jordan Pynes, president of TSA.

"We are so proud that the hard work and creativity of these LA partners are
being recognized on the national stage," said LISC executive director Claudia
Lima. "This neighborhood has truly undergone a transformation that would not
have been possible without the vision, commitment and hard work of all these
partners, including the residents who fought to make Dunbar Village a safe
place to call home."

About TSA: For over 38 years, Thomas Safran and Associates has developed and
managed over 5,500 residential units for seniors and families in Greater Los
Angeles. From the excellent design to extensive landscaping, TSA has
specialized in developing quality affordable housing with the goal to enhance
the world in which we live and enrich the lives of the people who reside in
their buildings. 

About CRCD: Founded in 2005, the Coalition for Responsible Community
Development has a unique focus on young people in Vernon-Central (age 16-25),
and collaborates with residents, businesses, community-based organizations,
civic leaders, and Los Angeles Trade Technical College, to improve quality of
life and address the needs of low-income residents.

About MetLife Foundation: MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue
MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community
involvement. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial
inclusion, committing $200 million over the next five years to help build a
secure future for individuals and communities around the world. MetLife
Foundation is affiliated with MetLife, Inc, a leading global provider of
insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million
customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading
market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and
the Middle East. .

About LISC: The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) supports
comprehensive, collaborative and community-driven efforts that transform
neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities of choice and
opportunity. Since 1987, Los Angeles LISC has invested over $646 million
resulting in more than 9,000 homes, 1.7 million square feet of commercial or
community space, and over $1.7 billion in total investment in LA
neighborhoods. LISC's national Community Safety Initiative supports alliances
between communities and law enforcement to reduce crime and spur vitality in
communities. LISC has administered the MetLife Foundation Community-Police
Partnership Awards since 2002. (

Analee Villalpando, TSA, 310-820-4888,
Mark Wilson, CRCD, 213-743-6193,
Claudia Lima, LISC, 213-240-3118,

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation

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