As part of LISC's recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we look back, and forward, to essential collaborations in Latino communities all across the country.
In the Near Northside neighborhood of Houston, which is 80 percent Hispanic, LISC partners with Avenue CDC to build affordable housing and promote economic development, financial stability and community connection. Stella Mireles Walters, a Near Northside native, and her son, Mario Salinas, a youth development and civic education leader, spearheaded a neighborhood-wide Safe Walk Home program in the wake of a murder last year.
LISC's first investment in Boston helped build Villa Victoria, now a 521-unit affordable housing community in the city’s South End neighborhood, which has become a model for civil rights and community organizing, affordable housing, and education and arts programming. Villa Victoria, a project of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, grew up on a parcel of land that was famously defended by Puerto Rican residents who refused to let their neighborhood be razed for redevelopment.
There are more than four million Latino-owned small businesses in the United States, and República Empanada in Mesa, AZ is one of them. LISC helped Jinette and Edmundo Meraz, and their son Marco, open República in an abandoned former restaurant space, where they showcase their Mexican, Costa Rican and local roots through food, decor and warm hospitality.
The town of Pajaro, CA, is 90 percent Latino and many of its residents, and those of surrounding Monterrey County, are farm workers. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit supported the creation of Nuevo Amanecer, high quality, affordable workers' housing in an area of high need.
Children in Cincinnati celebrate the Guatemalan Holy Week tradition of creating colorful alfombras—carpets—using tiny dyed wood chips. Price Hill Will, a LISC partner that promotes extensive arts and culture work in the Price Hill neighborhood, organized the event, complete with a pop-up parade accompanied by the MYCincinnati youth orchestra, the Percussionistas.
Taller Puertorriqueño is a steadfast cultural anchor in the Fairhill section of Philly. The group’s gorgeous new headquarters (see top photo), funded in part by a $2.1 million loan from LISC, symbolize the organization’s enduring impact on its community, its neighborhood and the city at large. Pictured here are youth in a dance class at Taller.
One of LISC's original partners in the South Bronx, Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, now manages the building where the oldest Latin music store in New York, Casa Amadeo, has operated since 1941. But during the 1980s, when the building was abandoned, the lights cut off and plumbing defunct, owner Mike Amadeo (a celebrated songwriter and composer himself) would clean the counters and mop the floor with water from the hydrant out front. Today, the building is renovated for affordable housing and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Rural LISC partner Self-Help Enterprises, Inc. in Visalia, CA serves eight counties in California's agricultural San Joaquin valley which is more than 50 percent Latino. Above, a family who built their own home through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, selects the satisfying final touches for the house: choosing paint colors, finishes and carpeting.
In Chicago, LISC's longtime collaboration with Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) has embraced a range of programs and investments that support Latino residents. This summer, local youth connected with 70 businesses to engage owners about how they can play a pivotal role in helping to create safe spaces for the community. LSNA also supports DACA recipients and other immigrants with counseling and educational resources vital for new Americans.