Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) (shown right) joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Weingart Center Association staff and clients for the official dedication of the Weingart Center Garden Project, one of the few green spaces in Skid Row. The area was renamed “Hope Row” by Gregory Scott, President and CEO of the Weingart Center Association (shown left), because of the transformational work that the Weingart Center Association and other community organizations are doing to change the lives of the homeless.
The green space will allow for Weingart Center participants to have a space to relax, reflect and rejuvenate. The community garden was made possible by a grant through AmeriCorps, and AmeriCorps members provided most of the labor for the garden project. Federal funds made available under the American Rescue and Recovery Act helped to make the garden’s construction possible.
After the garden’s dedication, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard toured the Weingart Center and its Community Health Center, for which the congresswoman secured $238,000 in Fiscal Year 2009.
Located in the heart of Skid Row, the Weingart Center Association empowers and transforms the lives of Los Angeles’ homeless men and women, helping them to break the cycle of homelessness and lead self-sufficient lives by providing on-site transitional housing; case management; substance abuse recovery; medical and mental health treatment; education; workforce development; and other services. Tailored programs are available for veterans, people on parole, women and HIV+ individuals. The Weingart Center Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is a premier agency of its kind in the West and a model for the nation.
The congresswoman made the following remarks at the dedication:
“It is truly a pleasure to join you for this very special occasion. It is a well-known fact that we have a severe lack of green space in Downtown Los Angeles, especially right here in Hope Row. It is also a well known fact, as Gregg mentioned—that has been confirmed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness—that access to green space integrated with services from housing to nutrition, to primary and mental health care is a key component to eradicating homelessness.
So this morning’s celebration of the opening of Weingart’s Community Garden is also a celebration of one more step towards the transformation of Hope Row into an environment of positive living. I am extremely pleased that federal dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped to support the garden’s landscaping operations and the purchase of the supplies that were needed to create this garden. But what has truly made today a reality is the collaboration of federal agencies, national organizations, local partners and individual AmeriCorps members. So I take this opportunity to commend the Weingart Center for having the vision to create this beautiful sanctuary and resting space for the residents of Hope Row.
This garden is a reflection of the many life transforming services provided by the Weingart Center—whether it’s the Center’s support in helping residents achieve sobriety from drugs and alcohol, find and maintain a permanent home, or prepare for sustained employment, like this garden, Weingart’s services support community members’ efforts to improve their lives.
I also thank and commend AmeriCorps, which provided the staff to work on this project. Through AmeriCorps’ ongoing support of initiatives like creating this garden, communities such as this one, are transformed into environments for positive living. I especially congratulate the AmeriCorps staff who were responsible for the first stage of this garden’s development and who themselves were once homeless. Through your dedication, time and energy you not only created a space for recreation, recovery and wellbeing but you created a community garden that is one more example of this neighborhood’s enormous potential as a center of hope and opportunity for those who now live not on Skid Row, but on Hope Row. This garden is a testament to your strength and determination to create a healthier, more stable and successful life for yourselves and your families.
Congratulations to all of you for this great achievement and beautiful garden. You all deserve a round of applause. Thank you.”