New cultural landmark rises in LA’s Historic Filipinotown
LOS ANGELES – A longstanding nonprofit serving the Filipino community will inaugurate its new offices, meeting rooms, community kitchen, and event space with a grand opening Friday, June 9, from 3-7 pm.
Since 1972. Search To Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) has been providing programs for youth and families including mental health education, counseling, youth programs, small business support, cultural enrichment, and affordable housing in Historic Filipinotown.
A mixed-use space, with permanent supportive housing, replaces SIPA’s headquarters in its 3200 W. Temple St. location for 30 years. SIPA entered into a partnership with nonprofit Linc Housing in June 2020 to develop the property into community center on the ground floor commercial space.
Local design firm Theoforma, was brought on to the project, incorporating natural elements like bamboo and rattan into the design. The aesthetic of the Philippine islands can be found throughout the space, from the fabrics and artisanal items, to furniture from Cebu, and Los Angeles based Filipinx American artists decorating the walls. Every detail was chosen to bring pride and heritage into the space.
The permanent supportive housing portion of HiFi Collective opened in fall 2022 with Linc Housing providing the supportive services to residents, thanks to funding from Los Angeles County.
Now at 100% occupancy, HiFi Collective is home to 63 formerly unhoused people, with SIPA and Linc working in close partnership to ensure the entire community thrives together in their new shared space.
“We are beyond excited to re-open our doors and physically root ourselves back in the very neighborhood that SIPA has served for decades,” stated SIPA Executive Director Kimmy Maniquis in a release.
Maniquis added: “SIPA will remain committed to serving youth and families, and are prepared to bring back our after school programs, cultural programming, mental health services and basic needs support to the community of Historic Filipinotown.”
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SIPA was founded in 1972 by a group of young Filipino American activists including founders and early leaders – Royal Morales, Al Mendoza, Helen Brown, Paul Chikahisa, Joe Abella and Jeanie Abella, who were inspired by the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements of the 1960s.
The founders wanted to address the lack of resources and opportunities for the Filipino American community in Los Angeles, particularly in the areas of education, employment, and social services.
In its early years, SIPA focused on organizing community events and cultural activities to promote Filipino heritage and identity. However, as the organization grew, it began to offer a wider range of services to the community, including job training, youth development programs, health education, and social services. Today, SIPA is one of the largest and most well-respected Filipino American organizations in the country, serving 3,800 people every year.
SIPA’s legacy continues to be felt in Los Angeles and beyond, as it has inspired many other Filipino American organizations and businesses to emerge and thrive across the state of California, and beyond.