Phase 1: Our existing building & Farm
The organization is renovating our 100 year old building to create a healing and resiliency hub for our community to weather the storm and build their vision of economic and environmental justice. The Existing building will expand by 40 feet to house a 25 person co-working space on the second floor, the first floor will feature a larger Movement Gallery and 4 rental Comadre Economy units on E. Commerce.
The new building will also be weatherized, include more windows, more restrooms, better lighting and overall meet the needs of our growing community.
Phase 1 also includes the renovation of the Roots of Change Community Garden, to include 15 garden beds, a functional urban acequia system running off of rain water, and a 10 x 60ft green house for year around veggie growing. The goal is to grow veggies and offer educational spaces for food sovereignty.
Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed March 2021 and will cost 1.5 million.
Phase 2: Economic Justice Center and Parking Structure
As our community met we found the need to provide multi-functional safe spaces for larger groups of people and workers. The idea for a dedicated center that advances financial autonomy is not new to SWU, as we prepare for the day that grants can no longer fulfill the needs of the organization. On a larger scale as we build leaders, its a workers dream to be financially stable and to have a space that hold their needs and values at the center.
The first of three floors will hold a bodega (our long-term solution to our seasonal Comadre Economies Pop Up Shop) and will have 10 – 15 rooms at affordable rent ranges for nonprofits and business who are aligned with the mission of the organization. In addition, the bodega will also hold a coffee shop/restaurant and a community kitchen.
The second floor will house 6 studios and 8 hotel style bed rooms for the purpose of temporarily housing guest, members, or to address rapid response needs. These spaces are intended to address the growing housing crisis, emerging safe spaces, and add additional income to the center.
The third floor will feature the large gathering space that can seat 200 people seated. As facilitators, a large part of our work is to bring people together, as the organization continues to grow so does our need to accommodate a larger group of members. For example, each month our staff engages 150 - 200 members during workshops, mutual aid events, and meetings. We would love to fit them into a room and dive deeper in social justice conversations.
And finally, the required 150 space parking structure allows for multiple forms of income to continue to fund the space, as well as hold the solar panels & batteries needed for a neighborhood solar hub. We are hoping to apply for a
varience for parking, as it is our dream to advocate off fossil fuel
dependence, and to direct much needed funding that would allow
us to advance Phase 2 on a quicker timeline.
Phase 2 is currently on hold until the organization is able to
fundraise for the two structures. We estimate 3 million will be
needed to complete P2 - a large % of the budget being directed
toward the parking structure.
Phase 2 will also see the completion of the first solar micro
grid in San Antonio.
We are guided by local BIPOC companies and offer stipends to our
community members providing their voice in the project. The
organization has layed the frame for conversations with city agencies on the need to build Resiliency Hubs, and offer support for organizations to offer additional programs that weather the storm and support communities during crisis.
The organization has engaged an estimated 80 members and community neighbors since September of 2021. We do this during open houses, webinars, in person events, and schedule 1 on 1 sessions.
We believe that our staff play the role of facilitators for this project and offer day to day work plans to advance the project. The project leaders take the information collected from weekly conversations, share decisions and facilitate & translate the request to build a space for all our community.
Since the organization began buying the surrounding land on E. Commerce, in the early 2000, dreaming of what could be has existed; conversations on housing needs, safe spaces, markets, gathering spaces, and green spaces to grow food & herbs. Based on a 2016 community survey with 200 neighbors, we began putting those ideas on paper. In 2018 the Board voted to begin removing older structured after extreme harassment from developers who weaponize city policy. Then in 2021, the board move forward with a conceptual design after experiencing extreme weather, housing needs, & policy brutality, the need to have a completed space was urgent. In March 2022, we voted to continue into construction designs and start construction for a new center.
Staff layout the spaces to ensure programing continues from our temporary offices.
Regional Healing & Resilience Hub
Centro por la Justicia will be renovating and expanding our Head Quarters to better serve our community and ensure that the movement for economic and environmental justice thrives regionally. Our HQ houses The Roots of Change Garden, Underground Library, The Movement Gallery, Youth Leadership Organization, Domestic Workers in Action, and Southwest Workers Union.
Meet the Facilitators: