Department of Neighborhood Empowerment
Neighborhood Councils are the closest form of government to the people. They are advisory bodies, who advocate for their communities with City Hall on important issues like development, homelessness, and emergency preparedness.
Neighborhood Councils are part of the Los Angeles City government, and have annual budgets funded by taxpayer dollars. Neighborhood Council board members are City officials who are elected by the members of their local communities, but they donate their time as volunteers. The Neighborhood Council system was established in 1999 as a way of ensuring that the City government remains responsive to the different needs and lifestyles of Los Angeles’ rich variety of communities. There are currently 99 Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles, each serving about 40,000 people – see the map below.
Although voted in by city residents in 1999 as an amendment to the City’s Charter, the Neighborhood Councils have their roots in The Empowerment Congress, a broad-based and diverse constituency made up of community residents, representatives of block clubs, social and human service organizations, academic and religious institutions, business interests and individual citizens. The Empowerment Congress was founded by then-LA City Council member (and current County Supervisor) Mark Ridley-Thomas in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots – the system was created to better connect LA’s diverse communities to City Hall (read more history here).