Organization History and Description
T.R.U.S.T. South LA (founded in 2005 under the name Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust) is a community-based initiative to stabilize the neighborhoods south of downtown Los Angeles, where increased property values and rents have pushed out many long-term residents. Over the last decade, as government and corporate efforts have helped to establish Downtown Los Angeles as a 24/7 ‘Live-Work-Play’ city, long-time residents that have actually lived, worked and played in downtown and in the surrounding areas for many decades are being forced out of their communities due to real estate pressures, which have minimally lessened even under the current economic recession.
TRUST means community and collaboration. They do empowerment, they help develop leadership capabilities, and they strengthen people's willingness to engage in their community.
In response to these duel dynamics of displacement and disinvestment, T.R.U.S.T. South LA has sought to build community control over land, to preserve and promote opportunities for working-class people to remain in their community. In addition, T.R.U.S.T. South LA assists in growing the capacity and power of local residents to participate in future decision-making and development of their neighborhoods. Founding partners Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Strategic Actions of a Just Economy, and Abode Communities formulated an initial business plan, secured start up funds and equity for land acquisitions, and established a founding board. The organization began recruiting a membership base and growing grassroots leadership capacity in 2007.
Permanent control over the assets of T.R.U.S.T. South LA is ensured by its legal structure as a membership organization, with Regular Members restricted to low-income people who live or work in the land trust area. The first elections to move toward Members’ majority control of the Board of Directors were held in 2009, and subsequent rounds every spring since. Elected grassroots members currently comprise 80% of the Board, with representatives from organizational allies holding the other two seats. In addition to electing the majority of the Board of Directors, the Membership controls major decisions of the organization, including any change of organization’s governing documents, or sale of property.
Low-income residents of South Los Angeles neighborhoods have power to shape the development of housing, recreation and open space in a manner that promotes economic vitality and healthy environments.
T.R.U.S.T. South LA works with low-income community residents to transform the built environment and social conditions in South Los Angeles by: serving as a steward for community-controlled land; being a catalyst for values-driven, community-serving development; building awareness and community leadership in issues of housing, transportation and recreation; and creating programs and initiatives that encourage community building and economic opportunity.
TRUST South LA is my extended family. I came here to know more about my community in South Central and to make a difference.