Welcome to the New LACAN blog
The mission of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) is to help people dealing with poverty create & discover opportunities, while serving as a vehicle to ensure they have voice, power & opinion in the decisions that are directly affecting them.
Our overarching goals focused on social change are:
- Organize and empower community residents to work collectively to change the relationships of power that affect our community.
- Create an organization and organizing model that eradicate the race, class, gender barriers that are used to prevent communities from building true power.
- Eliminate the multiple forms of violence used against and within our community to maintain status quo.
January 2, 1999 marked the date when 25 residents of the downtown Central City East community, also known as “Skid Row”, came together and acknowledged the problems that existed in their community. In addition to that acknowledgement came the commitment to do something about those problems: to stand together, organize and become a force in the community that demands change. The Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) was subsequently formed with the mission to help people dealing with poverty create and discover opportunities, while serving as a vehicle to ensure they have voice, power and opinion in the decisions that are directly affecting them.
LA CAN has grown substantially over the past six years. Membership has expanded, as has our scope of work. While we were originally focused mostly on issues related to civil rights (civil rights page), we have added projects addressing housing policy (Share the Wealth), economic development, and women’s issues (DWAC) and have built a variety of new relationships with community stakeholders.
LA CAN has been incredibly successful in grassroots mobilization, community decision-making, issue-based advocacy, and service coordination and improvement in issues related to homelessness, health, housing, and civil rights. LA CAN has also been a strong and visible leader in community efforts to respond to the rapidly growing number of women and families living in a community with housing and services historically designed to meet the needs of single men.
Who We Organize
LA CAN’s constituency is homeless and extremely low-income people living in downtown Los Angeles. The Central City East region of downtown Los Angeles, commonly known as Skid Row, is home to over 11,000 homeless and extremely low-income people. The residents are comprised of single individuals and families with children, chronically homeless people, people with a mental illness and/or a substance abuse problem, people with other disabilities and chronic health conditions, people living in safe and affordable housing, people living in substandard but affordable housing, and homeless people living in transitional living facilities or on the street. In the past several years, the number of single women and women with children has grown significantly in a community that was designed to serve single, adult men. The key leadership of LA CAN is comprised of 7 staff and 30 core members, 95 percent of whom are current or former residents of the Central City East community.