LABT Mission Statement
Our mission is: “To improve the quality of life in Los Angeles by empowering citizens to change their environment for the better.” We achieve this through environmental improvement efforts, job training for at risk youth and environmental education for youth and communities. From our grass-roots origins in 1992, to our current role as a respected, county-wide environmental improvement organization, for two decades we have been guided by a fundamental belief in the power of community partnership.
Through its work, HLABT serves entire communities by: planting trees, designing and implementing resource conservation projects, improving school campuses, neighborhoods and business districts.
Through these projects we solicit community participation and provide educational workshops and vocational training to at-risk youth and young adults. Each year we plant more than 2,000 trees, remove 3 million square feet of graffiti per year, and help to improve our communities for current and future generations.
In the past 20 years, HLABT has adopted over 140 public schools, hired 2,500 youth and completed 250 mural walls, transforming campuses and neighborhoods throughout the region. Through this work we have also provided environmental and arts mentoring to more than 35,000 school children, inspiring many of them with a conservation ethic and increased civic pride.
Video: Inside the Mayor’s Office – HBT
The Hollywood Beautification Team was founded by community volunteers working with our Hollywood Police due to the overwhelming gang activity in Hollywood. Painting out the gang graffiti was a prime objective. Neighbors began painting out graffiti on their streets which was frequently dangerous, and most streets had no neighborhood watch group to clean up. HBT was created for all community members to have an organization of their own to call upon for support.
With a $25,000 Community Redevelopment Agency Grant and a van donated by Paramount Studios, HBT held its first community event on April 4, 1992 and began per five day a week cleaning and graffiti abatement program. Three weeks later the 1992 Civil Unrest occurred and devastated the South Los Angeles area; Hollywood became the secondary area of rioting and looting. HBT was called upon by the city to clean up Hollywood. Over eight days, 600 volunteers cleaned up the broken glass and debris from the streets and sidewalks, boarded up the burned out buildings, painted out the hateful graffiti everywhere, and swept all the streets. Over the next month HBT helped merchants clean up their shops and restock shelves. The CRA then funded HBT with small grants for three years to continue graffiti abatement, and to be on call for the community.
The 1994 Northridge Earthquake instigated an aftershock on the Hollywood fault, causing damage to buildings which were red tagged by the City, resulting in 3,000 residents having to live on the streets. HBT cleaned the earthquake debris from the streets and sidewalks, and assisted the Red Cross in bringing supplies to those who were displaced. HBT also picked up the trash from all the areas where people were living on the street and in parking lots, in order to keep them clean. Over the next several months we assisted these homeless residents in moving their belongings to storage so they could feel free to leave the street and move into shelters.
In 1995 HBT began working as a City Public Works Contractor for graffiti abatement and cleaning. We also serve as the City’s Graffiti Prevention Vining Contractor. We are State Licensed Painting Contractors (C-33) and Landscape Contractors(C-27). We are Cleaning and Landscape Contractors for two Business Improvement Districts, and do commercial landscape work. We utilize the Court Referred Community Service Program, and mentor and provide job training for adults and youth.
LABT is a project partner of Million Trees LA. Our areas of responsibility include the East Valley and Central Los Angeles. We have been planting trees in the community and at LAUSD schools since 1992 (adopting 140 public schools to date); we bring science based expertise, technical skills and grants to the community, engaging and teaching stakeholders. HBT sat on the City’s CFAC for five years. We also implement commercial tree and landscape plantings, restore native habitat and trails.
As we have worked county-wide since 1995, we are “doing business as” The Los Angeles Beautification Team (LABT), however most people still refer to us as “HBT”. We are grateful to the City Departments and staff who have helped us learn and grow. These include the Bureau of Sanitation, Watershed Protection Division; Public Works Bureau of Street Services, Office of Community Beautification, Urban Forestry, Bureau of Engineering and LADWP.