Resilience hubs in action: Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory

By Climate Champions | November 6, 2022

Location & Region: United States, North America

Partner: Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)

Area and sector: Urban/community-based, capacity building, access to information, education and awareness raising

Boyle Heights faces high levels of pollution from myriad sources including major freeways and industrial sites, and potential disasters such as earthquakes, extreme heat, and flooding. The community members living in this neighbourhood suffer from a lack of investment and access to resources, intentional discrimination, and health disparities. The Boyle Heights Resilience Hub provides a safe and trusted community-based space for people to access information, supplies, services, and resources before, during and after a disruption, and increases overall community connection and resilience.

The hub serves the Boyle Heights community with a range of programming, such as job training in radio and broadcasting, including for formerly incarcerated individuals; a radio station with mixtec, Spanish and English programming; training for proactive community ecovery preparedness; youth programming in arts; and senior services. Additionally, funds have been utilized to improve site communications and preparedness so that community  members know to come to the site during extreme weather events and other disruptions for safety and care.

“I always want to be here. The environment… it’s just very empowering for me to be here. There are so many really  welcoming people and everyone is so friendly here. Everybody being in tune with the creative side of themselves, they’re always trying to better people, and that’s the one thing I always keep coming back for.” — Mayah Aguilera, BHAC intern

Five Foundational Area Successes:

  • Programming & Services. The site provides educational and after-school programming, emergency preparedness training, and senior services.
  • Communications. The site provides a radio station and tower that serves two purposes; it is an economic development opportunity for young people seeking to learn about making their own radio program, and during a disruption, it provides key information to community members and helps them connect with services.
  • Building & Landscapes. The site stores supplies for emergencies and provides a safe space with rooms to accommodate large groups that need to gather for learning, to access to materials and resources, and potentially to access HVAC. The site is also being retrofitted with water capture and filtration systems for community access.
  • Power. The hub is being assessed for a solar array and battery backup system to keep power going in the event of a disruption and to offer a space for people to access heating, cooling, Wi-Fi, charging stations, etc.
  • Operations & Maintenance. The site is ADA accessible and makes sure that all members of the community are welcomed. Additionally, funding is used to support staff members from the community who keep the site up and running year-round.

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