Dozens of volunteers will come together this Saturday, Oct. 24, to complete a Lawn to Garden project for three group homes in Long Beach.

The duplexes on Clark Avenue are owned by Home Ownership for Personal Empowerment (HOPE), a nonprofit organization that rents houses to people with developmental disabilities.

The project was a group effort, coordinated by HOPE and Rebuilding Together Long Beach. Corporate partners, including Johnson Controls, Molina Healthcare and the International Association of Events and Exhibitors, will be on hand to replant the front lawns with native plants; volunteers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office also will be on hand.

HOPE allows people with developmental disabilities to live independently, property manager Jennifer Byram said. Residents each have their own rooms and share a common space. The residents pay no more than a third of their incomes for housing.

Even still, HOPE residents often to do not have the physical or financial ability to keep up with a lawn, community relations manager Ian Nevarez said.

Saturday’s event might include the duplex’s tenants, but Nevarez said they were leaving it up to the residents to decide.

“We’ve notified their counselors and sent a letter to the properties,” he said.

Some tenants may want to come out and help, while others may stop by for refreshments or opt out of the spotlight completely, he said.

“It’s really an open-ended invitation to the residents,” Nevarez said.

The duplexes along Clark are the first of HOPE’s properties to be converted to drought-tolerant landscaping.

“We have about 20 locations in Long Beach,” he said. “So, for us, this is really just a starting point.”

For more information about HOPE, visit

Jennifer Rice Epstein writes about business, environmental issues and K-12 education. Her essays and reporting also have appeared in The Morning News, Vice and LA Weekly, among others. She lives with her family in Bixby Knolls and tweets about Long Beach.

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