Community responds to new phase of the monthly Hollywood Village cleanups with optimism and energy.
Volunteers gathered at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center once again this month, carrying art supplies along with their cleaning tools, to create their largest mural to date in an area that was marred by severe urban decay.
An encampment of houseless people had brought drugs and crime into the Hollywood neighborhood, leaving residents worried about the safety of their families. So, after the homeless encampment in the area was removed, the Hollywood Village volunteers cleaned up and sanitized the block, disposed of a dozen contaminated syringes, and created a giant mural to upgrade the environment.
For the past several months, Hollywood Village has been creating street art to reclaim derelict streets in Hollywood and set new standards for the area. A street artist and former tagger designed and supervised the creation of the mural. More than 50 volunteers took part in the project and the effect on the neighborhood was dramatic.
“People were coming up and grabbing paintbrushes to join in the initiative,” said one of the volunteers. “One man literally stopped his car in the middle of the street and rushed up to hug us. Another man told us his mother lives in the apartment building on this block. There were drug users and criminals hanging out in the hallway until he kicked them out. He wanted to know how soon we would be doing another cleanup because he’s ready to help. This project gave the neighbors hope and an actual plan to take back their neighborhood.”
As part of the initiative, the volunteers always hand out The Way to Happiness booklets. “This is a new kind of moral code,” said the coordinator of the project. “It was written by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. It not only includes common-sense values people of all faiths and backgrounds hold, it even provides tools you can use to change your life. I have seen this book create miracles.”
Where the Hollywood Village initiative has created these murals along with their cleanups and promotion of common-sense values, the crime rate has dropped to well below that of other nearby neighborhoods. And they are virtually free of homeless encampments.
After the cleanup, the volunteers were treated to tacos from Leo’s Taco Truck which sponsored this month’s project, and a homemade Filipino noodle dish prepared by the managers of the apartment buildings on the block. This was topped off with treats from Kettle Glazed Donuts who support these monthly Hollywood Village projects.
Hollywood Village, a partnership of the Church of Scientology, The Way to Happiness Foundation and the Los Angeles Police Department, has grown into a community coalition of people of all faiths, ideologies and backgrounds, working together to make Hollywood shine.