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Our project is anticipated to have short-term, measurable impacts on levels of violence and features conducive to community safety (traffic planning, street lighting, etc.) in the neighborhoods we target. Increased rates of early disclosure and assistance for domestic violence and child abuse—among populations that are often extremely difficult for more traditional social-services approaches to reach effectively—may be another key beneficial outcome. However, while these outcomes are worthwhile on their own, we believe that the most significant neighborhood-level change (and one that could provide a template for a broader, L.A. County-wide set of practices) will be found in increased levels of social connection in neighborhoods often characterized by precisely the opposite: transient populations, physically dense but largely anonymous living and housing patterns, very low rates of voting and civic engagement, low rates of volunteerism, and pronounced disengagement between generations. By mobilizing a core group of resident volunteer leaders, setting in motion and supporting a project development approach in which they themselves develop and intensity a network of social relationships in the community, and tying this network to a series of safety outcomes explicitly related to neighbor-to-neighbor trust and support, and to engagement with public institutions and systems, we hope to establish a self-sustaining, growing movement toward connection in each of our 10 targeted neighborhoods. We know from data and evaluation (both our own, and a growing research literature) that networks of effective and supportive social relationships are the “keystone” factor among a group of characteristics variously called “protective factors,” “well-being indicators,” or “components of resiliency.” The presence of these characteristics are what sets successful communities apart from others, even in cases where more traditional indicators of community vitality (wealth and income, levels of educational attainment, etc.) are low. To put it simply, even economically “poor” neighborhoods may be experienced by their residents as desirable places to live and interact if these other factors are present in high levels. Demonstrating the effectiveness of an approach to promote these connectedness-related factors at the neighborhood level could have far-reaching impacts in L.A. County. Approaches to community safety, economic development, and civic engagement rooted in enforcement, job training, and formal education will always have their place. However, addressing and moving beyond the limits of these approaches—and thus producing real and lasting change in some of the most intractable issue areas facing our under-resourced communities—becomes possible only through reliance on strategies mobilizing resident-to-resident networks of trust and mutual support. These small-scale, resident-led institutions are the future of a safe, vibrant, healthy, and just Los Angeles County.See Idea Details remind me