March 2009


Last Wednesday, Allison Iraheta gave an AMAZING! Performance with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, a soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.  And Her classmates held an ‘Idol’ Viewing Party on Wednesday at her Magnet School to show their support.

Please VOTE for Allison Iraheta!

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly known as the economic stimulus package, included a provision for $875,000 over three years to fund the Healthy Homes Demonstration Project of Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.

The Healthy Homes Team is a cadre of 12 Community Health Promoters who have been working in our neighborhood for over 10 years to improve the environmental health of the community and keeping families and children safe from dangers  of lead poisoning, vermin infestation, mold, and other home-based health hazards.

Approximately 85% of the housing in our neighborhood was built before 1978, most containing lead-based paint, which is a toxin that severly affects  the development of testtubes1children under the age of five.  The Healthy Homes Team works in conjuction with  St. John’s Well Child and Family Center Clinics by receiving referrals of children who have elevated lead blood levels.  The Healthy Homes Team visits the child’s home, tests for lead, and educates the family on how to protect their children.

In addition, the Healthy Homes Team partners with tenant organizers of  SAJE, a partner of Esperanza, who work with local families to protect them from displacement and the ravages of slum housing conditions.  Families learn how to improve the habitability of their environment, and protect their children from constant illness.  Over the past 10 years, the Healthy Homes Team have reached thousands of people in their homes and improved the quality  of their health and their housing conditions.

In 2008, Esperanza applied to HUD for a grant to fund a Healthy Homes Demonstration Project.  While our proposal scored extremely well and was deemed fundable by a wide margin, it was not funded due to severe budget cuts.  The services that the Healthy Homes Team provides are essential for our community, but the fiscal realities would not allow us to support their work indefinitely without a funding stream.  Layoffs are imminent, foreclosure and housing prices continue to rise in our neighborhood, more and more people are crowding into smaller units in undesirable conditions, putting their health at risk.  The community needs the Healthy Homes Team, but without the funding from HUD, this highly skilled group of colleagues would have had to disband after 10 years of working together to improve the health of our community.

With the stimulus bill, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, qualifying applications to HUD’s Lead Outreach and Healthy Homes Programs from 2008 were funded, including Esperanza Community Housing Corporation’s Healthy Homes grant.  Seven people from low-income backgrounds who are experts in their field will be employed over three years,  working to improve the environmental health of their neighborhood and the families who live there.  Our program creates jobs, healthier families, and stronger communities.

On March 5, 2009 at a HUD Western Grantee Meeting, Esperanza received a Special Recognition Award from Jon L. Gant, Director of the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control.  The award reads “In grateful recognition of your dedication and significant contribution in promoting Healthy Homes and advancing the Presidential Goal of Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning.  Your efforts have improved the lives of many children.”

Esperanza thanks everyone who played a role in making sure that our essential work continues.

salud10Please join South LA Healthy Eating Active Communities & Esperanza Community Housing Corporation at Mercado La Paloma in the launching of  La Salud tiene Sabor/Smart Menu.  With great collaborative efforts, support  and perseverance, our community will be empoowered with the knowledge and tools necessary to make healthier food choices.

Where: Mercado la Paloma on Wednesday, April 15 at 10:00 a.m.

Allison, daughter of Sara Iraheta, an Esperanza Community Health Promoter has made it to the top 10 in “American Idol”

Allison has also been part of Esperanza events, delighting the crowd with her beautiful singing.  Please vote for Allison and support her on this journey in become a great star.

Three of Esperanza members were interviewed by Francesca Ayala, a USC journalism student, and expressed their views and feelings towards gentrification in our neighborhood.  The video is about how the University of Southern California’s new specific plan does not provide adequate housing to meet student demand.  The University of Southern California (USC) has historically failed to meet the demand for student housing and has turned a blind eye to the displacement it has caused to the low-income families living in the neighborhood.

Esperanza welcomes development — but we want development that is inclusive of our community, not a continuation of policies that have displaced our community.  Esperanza and our partners have joined with USC students to demand MORE student housing, student housing that is commensurate to the actual demand for student housing.  We do not want token gestures that do not address the scale of the underlying problem.  We want USC to meet its obligations to its students so they are not forced into units that previously housed families.

USC’s policy of not housing students have resulted in sky-rocketing rents and has incentivized local landlords to engage in housing discrimination.  The consequence of USC ignoring — or failing to address this issue adequately — has already displaced over 40% of the families living in our neighborhood.  These families are torn from their community (many who have lived here for decades), children are taken from schools, families must leave their medical service provider, and their new housing is insecure.

Community needs and student needs are perfectly aligned: we both need more quality affordable housing.  Although our community has struggled against USC’s housing policies, we have always had fruitful and wonderful partnerships with USC students, such as this one with Francesca.  Thank you so much Francesca for helping us to tell our stories of our struggle against displacement.

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Esperanza Community Housing is proud to have a great team of promotoras who engaged on daily basis with our community by providing educational information on asthma.

Recently, The Guardian, published a research by British scientist, indicating on their findings that children who spend hours watching television are at greater risk of developing asthma,  as opposed to those who watch less and are more active.

Full story: The Guardian.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/03/asthma-television-tv-children