The panel included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and focused on the challenges and success stories of urban revitalization in the United States.
Our Executive Director Dixon Slingerland joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and a distinguished group of elected officials, union leaders, philanthropists, and urban experts at “Expanding Opportunity in America’s Urban Areas,” a panel held at the Center for American Progress.
“There is a modern day war on poverty, and the federal government’s playing a major role in this work,” said Slingerland. “We’re thrilled in Los Angeles to be at the forefront of these efforts to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through a place-based approach.”
The panel surveyed the challenges confronting urban areas in the 21st-century United States, with special attention to the kinds of emerging place-based solutions that stress collaboration and breaking down silos. Our organization was the only service provider featured on the panel, and we are also the only agency in the country to have been awarded all four of the White House’s signature initiatives around neighborhood revitalization: Promise Zones, Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.
“It’s both bottom-up and top-down,” said Secretary Clinton. “If we can get more cities going to state capitals and coming to Washington saying, ‘We need to abolish the silos, we need your help creating the conditions for coordination and collaboration, we need to have your help in convening’. Looking at what works. And looking at—which I think Dixon has pointed to—looking at results.”
“So the best things we’re doing is bringing all of those issues together,” said Julian Castro, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “Investing in brainpower and skills, ensuring that there’s good quality affordable housing, making sure cities are safe. At HUD we’re celebrating 50 years, and one of the things we’re most proud of is our place-based initiatives. Choice Neighborhoods, that is about housing, it is about education, about safety, about sustainability. Same thing with Promise Zones, Promise Neighborhoods. I believe we need to do more of that in years to come.”
“Community-based organizations are doing so much to pitch in and collaborate with community colleges, businesses and chambers,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. “They’re doing it by using this model that we’re talking about—breaking down the barriers and the silos. And [Youth Policy Institute] is a shining example.”
“There’s no silver bullet,” said Slingerland. “You have to do everything and you have to do it well. In our case, that’s a focus on a continuum from cradle to college to career, with high quality schools and early education and wraparound services for youth and families. Targeting disconnected youth who have dropped out of school and don’t have employment – all of that has to be part of a cohesive strategy, and it has to be results-driven.”
Slingerland also stressed the importance of leadership in developing solutions, noting the work of Annenberg Foundation-led LA n Sync, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the Obama Administration in helping federal agencies break down silos and increase collaboration.
Video of the full session can be streamed at https://www.americanprogress.org/events/2015/03/16/108864/expanding-opportunity-in-americas-urban-areas/ and Slingerland is introduced at 37:05.