Five local community residents establish WCLO in order to address the needs of Watts' burgeoning Latino population.
WCLO leads Black/Brown Coalition organized to challenge the Department of Water and Power's (DWP) failure to address local water pollution problems. Unfortunately, it was not until residents advised DWP representatives that if no results were seen on a timely manner they could expect a Class Action law Suit. two weeks later, LADWP crews broke ground and installed new water pipes in the neighborhood; afterwards 80% of the problem was solved and finally, water for human consumption in Watts was possible again.
WCLO institutes the first Annual Watts Latino/African-American Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Now in its 26th anniversary, the event fosters multi-cultural understanding, tolerance, and unity, among different ethnic groups in Watts, and South Central Los Angeles.
The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA), and Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) awards WCLO with a two and half year contract to help CRA and LAHD in community outreach and marketing activities for a Residential Rehabilitation Low Interest Loan Pilot Program.
WCLO initiates the Watts Community Bridges Project, a series of cross-cultural educational and skills building activities, prioritizing conflict resolution and mediation and communication skills development. This project focuses on Aflrican American and Latino parents and students from Markham Middle School and Jordan High School to reduce inter-ethnic conflict among youth and adults in Watts. After much success, WCLO launches its Parents and Students Organized for Excellence in Our Schools and Communities (PASO) program .
WCLO documents 350 cases of ethnic victimization in the local public housing developments. Documentation became the basis for WCLO's Class-Action Law Suit against the Los Angeles Public Housing Authority.
After two years of litigation, the Los Angeles City Attorney recommends a $1.3 million settlement agreement. The settlement also includes the creation of a Blue Ribbon Committee charged with the purpose of instituting systemic change and improving public safety for both HACLA residents and surrounding neighborhood residents. WCLO Executive Director, Arturo Ybarra, serves as member of the Committee.
With the funds ($5oK) that WCLO received from the lawsuit, they purchase an abandoned Liquor Store and convert it to the home offices for first Latino multi-cultural, grassroots oriented Community Resource Center in South Central Los Angeles.
As a result of its success with the CRA loan program, WCLO launched the South Central Los Angeles Homeownership Initiative to help increase the number of homeowners among low to moderate income Latino and African-American families and individuals. WCLO's main collaborators were the National Council of La Raza, CHASE Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, L.A Housing Department, Fannie Mae, and Washington Mutual.
WCLO launched an agency re-organization towards realizing its vision of becoming a fullfledged community development corporation dedicated to building the human, social, and economic potential of Latinos and other residents of Watts.
A strong partnership is developed and successfully implemented between WCLO and United Way of Greater Los Angeles to promote asset building through IDA'S (lndividual Development Accounts) for home ownership, college education, and small business development.
"Las Fuentes Del Pueblo" LLC was established between WCLO and East LA Corp. with the purpose of using WCLO's property to develop six affordable duplexes for low-income households. Due to the nation's financial crisis and the housing bubble bursting, the project was suspended.
WCLO became a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency. Then, in conjunction with National Council of La Raza, incorporated to WCLO's South Los Angeles Homeownership Initiative, a Foreclosure Prevention Counseling and Education Program proven to be successful in helping hundreds of troubled homeowners save their homes and provide loan modifications as well as real estate scam prevention awareness to thousands more.
Watts/Century Latino Organization and the Advancement Proiect established a formal partnership towards the implementation of a Watts Latino Immigrant Leadership program, in order to uplift the voices of immigrant residents in Watts. Particularly, in the three public housing developments: Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens, and Imperial Courts. The program seeks to effectively prioritize community safety and improve community health outcomes.