What are neighborhood councils

Many Los Angelenos are looking for ways to make a difference in their communities on the issues they care about most: crime, roads and streets, gangs and the economy. Neighborhood Council participants are empowered to advocate directly for real change in their communities. These Councils consist of residents, business owners, and property owners.

Local engagement is important because no one understands a neighborhood better than the people who live, work and play there. Neighborhood Councils are answering that need and strengthening democracy in Los Angeles by embracing and supporting the diversity of neighborhoods that comprise the City of Los Angeles.

Working together, Neighborhood Councils have generated success stories across the City – from community health clinics in Pico Union, to a greening strategy for Downtown, to addressing traffic and transportation issues in West LA.

Los Angelenos can get involved in EmpowerLA as much or as little as they like. From staying informed through our website, to attending local Neighborhood Council meetings, volunteering on Committees and/or running for a Board Member position, there’s an engagement opportunity that meets everyone’s needs and schedules.

As part of the Plan for a Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s responsibility is to provide operational support to and facilitate the sharing of resources among Certified Neighborhood Councils, including but not limited to, meeting and office space, office equipment and mail and communications in order to communicate among constituents, Certified Neighborhood Councils, City Departments and governing officials.

Since the inception of the Plan for a Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils, the operational needs of Neighborhood Council’s continues to evolve and thus the Department has provided a list of additional resources which include acquiring translation, hiring temporary help, funding guidelines and conducting outreach. Below we are providing Neighborhood Councils with valuable tools in their daily operations.

What are Neighborhood Councils?

Neighborhood Councils are city-certified local groups made up of people who live, work, own property or have some other connection to a neighborhood. Neighborhood Council Board Members are elected or selected to their positions by the neighborhoods themselves.

Neighborhood Council Board size various across the City from 7 to over 30 individuals depending on what the neighborhood believes will meet its needs. They hold regular meetings – at least one every three months. Many Councils hold meetings more often and have working committees as well.

Neighborhood Councils receive public funds of $37,000 each year to support their activities. This may include creating events and programs that respond to the unique needs of their community or advocating on behalf of the issues they care about such as crime, roads and streets, the creation of safe spaces for children, gangs, and economic development. To learn more about Neighborhood Council success stories, click here.

Representatives from Neighborhood Councils:

Meet with the Mayor to discuss priorities in the annual development of the City budget, prior to its submittal and approval by City Council.
Receive advance notice of issues and projects that are important to them and their neighborhoods so they can understand, discuss them, and voice the opinions of the neighborhood to the City before final decisions are made.
Neighborhood Councils represent neighborhoods with a minimum population of 20,000 people. The average population represented by a Neighborhood Council is 38,000 people.

There are currently 95 Neighborhood Councils across Los Angeles with more in development. Councils must establish bylaws and go through the certification process with the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment before they can operate.