Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

De-Funding of Youth Center Connected To Gentrification in Santa Monica

 


Community leaders will join forces at a meeting of the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 as the Council votes to approve the budget. Youth, parents and community advocates are demonstrating before the Council meeting to support $190,000 funding to the Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC), Santa Monica's only culturally relevant youth program led by people of color.

The demonstration will begin Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at 3:30pm at the Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) - 715 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, Ca. 90405. March from PYFC to SM City Hall at 4:30pm. The PYFC is one of the priority items for activists who are demanding an increased investment to enhance the well-being of underserved youth. "At a time when the nation is witnessing the results of a widening disconnect between low income residents of color and local governments, the City of Santa Monica is proposing to cut all funding to the City's only culturally relevant youth & family program in the Pico Neighborhood," stated Founder/Executive Director Oscar de la Torre.

Background and Facts:

The Pico Neighborhood in Santa Monica is home to the largest concentration of youth and single parent households living in poverty in Santa Monica. We also have the largest concentration of youth that are failing in our schools. These social dynamics coupled with historic patterns of racial segregation and lack of political representation has led to a persistent gang problem that has led to 68 homicides since 1982 in the Pico Neighborhood.

PYFC is essential to preventing youth violence, strengthening public safety in Santa Monica.

13 years of service has led to years of building relationships and trust with the youth and families we serve. There is value in the connection PYFC has with the community and this cannot be easily replicated or replaced. Youth at PYFC have access to a recording studio, computer lab, tutoring, counseling, support in college applications, film training, theatre arts, leadership development and parent training.

Since the PYFC's creation in 2002, the organization has been instrumental in decreasing gang membership in Santa Monica and has successfully worked with youth and their families in expanding the number of Pico Neighborhood youth that have enrolled in and graduated from various colleges and universities. Public safety in Santa Monica has been strengthened due to PYFC's work.

City Budget and the PYFC

Since its founding in 2002 to the present, the City has decreased funding to the PYFC from $350,000 to the current $190,000 provided to PYFC in 2014-15.

The PYFC has already sustained a $160,000 reduction in City grant funding and has proposed to provide 60% of the funding needed to offer its full service plan for 2015-16.

 

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