In last year’s State of the Union, the President announced a new program to address economic blight. He said that his administration would identify “communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead.”
A month ago, I joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the White House when President Obama announced the first of five “Promise Zones,” including one located in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Hollywood, East Hollywood, Koreatown, Westlake and Pico Union.
This designation holds the real promise of a way out of poverty for those hardest hit in these neighborhoods. The “Promise Zone,” designation means new opportunities and targeted resources, in which the Administration will partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing, and improve public safety.
Unemployment has long plagued our community and the great recession made the problem even worse, so my hope is that the “Promise Zone” designation will give us a long-needed economic boost to increase jobs.
Working with developers to increase the supply of new affordable housing to prevent displacement, we can create jobs and help people stay in their communities. By investing in high-quality education and ensuring our students have the necessary career and technical training opportunities that prepare them for careers in high-growth industries, we’ll give those who have been out of work for far too long another chance. And by investing in infrastructure like rapid transit and bike lanes, we’ll attract new businesses and create jobs.
Another proposal that could receive assistance in the promise zone is the Hollywood Central Park, which would “cap” the Hollywood Freeway to build a 44 acre urban park. It’s been estimated that this project would create more than 40,000 jobs, and provide the community with open space for generations to come.
No government program can solve all of an area’s problems, but the “Promise Zone” designation will create jobs and educational opportunity for our young people, while transforming an area that has been rocked by the recession.
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