Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Glendale, CA - Mayor Ginger Bremberg

Glendale Day Labor Project

For more than 25 years, Glendale had wrestled with the problem of day laborers congregating in and around large building supply stores. Over the years, repeated attempts to solve this problem by the City and the Police Department all ended in failure. In July 1995, however, a new initiative was launched and soon showed signs of success.

The Glendale Day Labor Project, the product of extensive study by the Police Department's Community Police Partnership (COPPS) Program, established a fixed hiring site where prospective day laborers could assemble to lawfully solicit temporary employment without causing problems in the surrounding community. The Project was implemented as a collaborative effort of the City, the COPPS Program, Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, and Home Depot.

Using construction funds provided by Home Depot ($20,000) and CDBG ($48,000), physical development of the site began in September 1996 and was completed in January 1997. Now called the Glendale Temporary Skilled Worker Center, it is located on a railroad easement near Home Depot. Containing a paved pick-up area, an office, a raised waiting area, benches, rest rooms, drinking water, trash receptacles, and a pay phone, the Center operates like a hiring hall, providing a place for day laborers to register for work and for employers to pick up pre-screened, qualified day workers in a safe and organized manner. While waiting, the laborers can learn English and develop computer and other skills. Home Depot offers workshops and videos on construction skills.

The workers themselves coordinate the day-to-day activities of the Center and participate in policy decisions with the Project's stakeholders. They perform all cleaning and maintenance and deal with complaints and discipline problems using a sophisticated grievance procedure which includes an appeal process for those not satisfied with disciplinary actions. Catholic Charities oversees the daily operation of the Center and offers social services to the workers.

Annual funding for Center operations is provided by the City - using $30,000 in CDBG funds and $18,000 in general revenue funds - by Home Depot, which contributes $8,000, and by day laborer dues contributions of $36,000.

After one year of Project operations, day laborers are no longer congregating at locations around the City, and almost all of the 400 workers using the Center are being hired on a daily basis. More than 150 of the workers have obtained full-time jobs or jobs lasting several months. Several have been hired by sub-contractors to work on construction projects at federal prevailing wage levels. Before the Center opened, day laborers rarely earned minimum wage - some weren't paid at all. The laborers today earn an average of $8.00 per hour. This has enabled many to move out of the City's shelter and the mini-camps they occupied along the Los Angeles River and to move into permanent housing.

The image of day laborers also has changed as a result of the Project: Many now provide voluntary services to low-income frail seniors and non-profit agencies such as Head Start and Catholic Charities' Glendale Community Center. They have joined the City's CDBG-funded Adopt-A-Block Program - taking care of the neighborhood around Home Depot and Pacific Park - and have participated in annual graffiti clean-up events.

Contact: Moises Carrillo, Supervisor, Department of Community Development and Housing, (818) 548-2060