EC Los Angeles Ensures Local Hiring & Contracting for Jordan Downs Public Housing Redevelopment


Under a contract with Jordan Downs Community Partners (JDCP), Touchstone Project Solutions and Emerald Cities Los Angeles Director Veronica Soto are developing the Local Hire/Section 3 Plan to ensure local hiring and diverse business contracting for the $1 billion redevelopment of 50 acres of aging public housing in the Watts community.

According to JDPC, “The vision for the redevelopment is to create a socially, economically and physically integrated community knit together by programs and services and the creation of strong physical connections throughout the site. 

Economic Opportunities
ECC’s inclusion strategies for the Jordan Downs Redevelopment Project include compliance with Section 3 of the 1968 law governing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that amplifies a commitment to creating meaningful jobs for low and very low-income residents, as well as contracting opportunities for diverse businesses.  

Section 3 specifies that “the employment and other economic opportunities created by federal financial assistance for housing and community development programs should, if possible, be directed toward low- and very-low income persons, particularly those who are recipients of government housing assistance.” In the case of Jordan Downs, this applies to both jobs for public housing residents and contracting opportunities for local small, minority- and women-owned businesses.

JDCP notes that the project’s economic opportunities are to flow to business contractors and subcontractors that provide economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons.  Moreover, the developer has committed to “make best efforts to ensure that small, minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises, labor surplus area businesses and individuals or firms located, or owned in substantial part by persons residing in, a HACLA {Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles] public housing development are provided opportunities to participate in the redevelopment effort, when possible.”

Hiring Goals
EC LA’s role is to establish a framework to help the project achieve these goals, including that at least 30 percent of all construction and post-construction jobs will go to:

  • Jordan Downs housing development residents;
  • Residents of other LA Housing Authority-managed public housing developments; and/or
  • Residents of the City of Los Angeles.


EC LA will also help JDCP achieve its goal of having at least 10 percent of all construction hours set aside for disadvantaged workers who:

  • Have household income of less than 50 percent of the area median income; and
  • Face at least one of the following barriers to securing meaningful employment: 

    • Homelessness;

    • Custodial single parenthood;
    • Receive public assistance;

    • Lack a GED or high school diploma;

    • Have a criminal record or other involvement with the criminal justice system; or
    • Suffer from chronic unemployment.

A New Model
According to Soto, efforts are underway to formalize a collaborative of workforce development partners that will serve as the foundation for the Local Hire/Section 3 Plan. Specifically, all local agency and community program services will be aligned to provide a continuum of care and support to Jordan Downs residents in a manner that addresses basic needs, provides guidance on building work readiness and creates access to training, placement and job retention.

This approach will be incorporated into a new web-based workforce manager platform that will enable workforce partners to conduct ongoing case management; conduct referrals; track training achievements, placement and career trajectories; and maximize job retention through ongoing support and skills development. To facilitate retention and quantify economic impact, the workforce manager will connect to a regional network of public agency workforce databases that will help identify construction career job opportunities.

Further, a significant long-term goal of the workforce strategy is to provide Jordan Downs residents with an opportunity to begin high-wage careers in construction or non-construction that will enable them to return to Jordan Downs upon project completion – and have an opportunity to purchase a home in the new Jordan Downs community.

“With these added workforce development elements, we hope to create an economic inclusion model for public housing redevelopment projects that generate outcomes that extend beyond what is usually expected or achieved,” Soto said. “It’s a new and different model for Section 3 implementation, with a continuum of care for individuals who need immediate stabilization to experience successful job training, placement and retention.”

Redevelopment Results
The Jordan Downs Redevelopment consists of 1,410 housing units of affordable and market rate rental and low-income and market-rate homeownership units. The redevelopment project will also include up to nine acres of new parks and open spaces, commercial and retail development and community amenities that will transform one of Los Angeles’ most challenged areas into a planned neighborhood most often found in middle-class communities.

The redevelopment is to occur in six distinct phases over seven to 10 years, with the first phase of construction to start in late Spring 2017. The precise phasing plan, according to JDCP, will depend on refinement of building and infrastructure plans, future market and site conditions and funding availability. 


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