Loisaida, Inc. began as a grassroots movement in the Lower East Side (LES) led by Puerto Rican activists and Hispanic residents in the mid 1970’s to combat the effects of rampant violence, drugs, gangs, and poverty facing neighborhood children, youth and families. Later, in 1978 Loisaida, Inc. was formally incorporated in New York State as a local development corporation, with the mission to address the serious economic and social disenfranchisement of poor and low income Latino residents, with employment and training opportunities, comprehensive youth development initiatives, as well as neighborhood revitalization activities that positively highlighted the rich culture, heritage, and contribution of the Puerto Rican and Latin American community in this City.
However, in 2008, Loisaida, Inc. faced eviction from its original quarters at the 709 East 9th Street Community Center, then a City-owned property, which had been its home since its inception. The building, which also housed a daycare center, had been put up for development in a neighborhood that was quickly gentrifying. However, with local community support the Community District Board 3 (CBD 3), unanimously passed a resolution in support of Loisaida, Inc. and required that it be made part of any development plan or use of the 709 East 9th Street property.
During September 2012, in order to strengthen its capacity to secure its new Center’s sustainability, Loisaida, Inc. became an Affiliate of the Acacia Network, a premier health, housing and economic development organization; the largest Hispanic-based non-profit community development organization in New York State, and the second largest in the United States.
The new Loisaida Center, will build upon the organization’s 36 year history of developing award winning innovative programs in education, arts and culture, and community development. A sample of the continuum of programming is the Loisaida Fest, which since 1987 has produced the largest outdoor cultural community celebration in the Lower East Side.