City Heights



City Heights, known for its diversity, is a dense urban community of 95,000 living in approximately 6.5 square miles within San Diego.  Poverty, unemployment, child obesity, asthma, and violence are some key problems this community faces.

Within the complex landscape of need, City Heights has many valuable assets: nonprofit organizations, philanthropies, and residents highly engaged in and dedicated to their community. City Heights leaders and residents have a track record of achievements, including starting New Roots Community Farm, making City Heights Farmer’s Market among the first farmers’ markets nationwide to accept food stamps, and several high-quality affordable housing developments.

City Heights Building Healthy Communities is held by Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (CAN). The mission of Mid-City CAN is to promote a safe, productive, and healthy community through the collaborative efforts of families, youth, schools, religious and cultural organizations, businesses, and public and private agencies. As part of Building Healthy Communities, Mid-City CAN supports several Momentum Teams, or issue-based workgroups:  Access To Healthcare, Peace Promotion, Food Justice, Improving Transportation, Restorative Pipeline to Success, and the Youth Council.

City Heights Community

Quick Facts

Quick Facts

  • The average yearly income for a family of four is between $19,393 and $24,400, within the range of the federal poverty level of $22,050.
  • Unemployment in City Heights is 20.5 percent, roughly twice the County of San Diego average of 11 percent.
  • 42.4 percent of City Heights residents are foreign born.
  • City Heights racial and ethnic makeup is as follows: 54 percent Latino, 19 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, 13 percent African-American, 12 percent White, and 2 percent Other.
  • San Diego has 36.3 acres per 1,000 residents,  a density well above the median for all cities.  However, it is estimated that City Heights only has 1.52 acres of park per 1,000 residents,creating urgency to move projects like the skatepark.

Focus Areas

Focus Areas

Residents and partners in Mid-City CAN are driving change across many systems and issues. The map below gives a snapshot of the breadth of their actions (click the boxes under each category to learn more), followed by more information on our top four priorities for the coming year.

Health Happens in Schools
School Climate
Health Happens in Schools
School Climate
  • Discipline and Truancy Policies and Practices
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Youth Leadership
  • Parent Engagement
  • Community-Education System Partnerships
  • Sons and Brothers/BMOC
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Trauma-Informed Community School
School Wellness
Health Happens in Schools
School Wellness
  • Food and Water
    • Healthy and Halal Meals
    • School Teaching Gardens
    • Farm to School Program
    • School Nutrition App
  • Physical Activity
    • Walkability
    • Safe Passage to School
    • Parent-led Walking, Zumba and other Activities
  • Health and Wellness Councils
    • Parent Engagement and Advocacy
  • Youth Development
    • Mentorship
    • Leadership Development
  • Advocacy
Comprehensive Supports
Health Happens in Schools
Comprehensive Supports
  • School-Based Health Services
    • Healthy Habits Guides
    • School Based Health Centers
    • Vision Screening and Eyeglasses
    • Pre-K Developmental Assessments
    • Re-engagement of Drop-outs and High-Risk Students
  • Health Careers
    • Youth Career Pipeline
  • Adult Career Pathways
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Food Environments and Food Systems
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Food Environments and Food Systems
  • Farm Practice Training
  • Farmers Markets
  • Entrepreneurial Food Businesses
  • CalFresh and Public Benefits
  • Food Procurement Standards and Practices
  • Street Vending
  • Community Gardens
  • Freshworks
Environmental Justice and Land-Use Planning
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Environmental Justice and Land-Use Planning
  • Safe Routes to School/Safe Passages
  • Skate Parks
  • Walkability and Bikeability
  • Air Quality
  • Health Impact Assessment
  • Recreational Facilities and Green Space
  • Community Infrastructure Inequities
Community and Economic Development
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Community and Economic Development
  • Housing Conditions and Affordability
  • Tenants Union
  • Livable Wages and Benefits
  • Open Space
  • Active Transit and Transit Access
  • Walkability
  • Healthy Food Access
Systems that Restore and Heal
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Systems that Restore and Heal
  • Trauma Informed Healing
  • Restorative Practices
  • Juvenile Justice
    • Victim Offender
    • Restorative Justice Diversion
    • Systems Reform
  • Law Enforcement
    • Trauma-Informed and Restorative Justice
    • Community Relations
  • Understanding Structural Racism
  • Health Impacts of Immigration Policies
Healthy Youth Opportunities
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Healthy Youth Opportunities
  • Public Funding for Positive Youth Development
  • Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership
  • Career Pathways/Job Training
  • Healing and Restorative Justice
  • Physical Activity Programs
Health Happens in Prevention
Public Health
Health Happens in Prevention
Public Health
  • Community Transformation Grant
Coverage, Care and Community Prevention
Health Happens in Prevention
Coverage, Care and Community Prevention
  • ACA Education and Outreach
  • Public Benefits Awareness
  • Medi-Cal and ACA Enrollment with Voter Registration
  • Healthcare Cultural Competency and Language Access
  • Systems for Remaining Uninsured
  • Health Homes
  • Enrollment of Formerly Incarcerated/Re-entry Population
  • Community Health Centers
  • Culturally Responsive Wellness Centers
  • Health Navigators/Community Health Workers
Health Care Services
Health Happens in Prevention
Health Care Services
  • School Based Health Centers
    • Teen Health, Reproductive Health


  • Restorative Justice: The Peace Promotion workgroup aims to establish a Restorative Community Conferencing juvenile justice demonstration project to support youth offender, victim, and community reconciliation that repairs harm to the community and diverts youth from traditional juvenile detention and probation processes.
  • Healthy School Meals: Run by the Food Justice workgroup, this resident-initiated campaign aims to increase the availability of locally-grown fruits and vegetables in school meals, and to provide for healthy halal menu options that allow students to eat in accordance with their religious beliefs.
  • Safe Parks and Recreational Opportunities: Youth-led campaigns secured park land and approximately $2 million in funding to build two new skate facilities, and to expand opportunities for Muslim girls to engage in physical activities like swimming. Other community campaigns  run by the Youth Council workgroup include increased safety in and utilization of Teralta and Colina Parks.
  • Youth Transit Passes: The Improving Transportation in City Heights  workgroup collaborated to secure support and funding for the no-cost Youth Opportunity Pass, which removes transportation barriers to accessing school, jobs, and other activities, a common problem in the neighborhood with the lowest rates of automobile ownership in the region.


Get Connected

Steve Eldred color

Steve Eldred
Program Manager, City Heights

Steve Eldred, Program Manager for City Heights, joined The California Endowment in 2001. Prior to joining The Endowment, Eldred served as Health Planning and Program Specialist for the San Diego County Department of Health Service’s Office of AIDS Coordination. Before that, Eldred served with the State of Hawaii Department of Health as a Senior Planner for the Governor’s Committee on AIDS. Eldred currently serves as the co-chair for San Diego Neighborhood Funders and is on the steering committee of Orange County Health Funders Partnership. He is also a member of multiple San Diego planning groups, including the City of San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention. Eldred, a San Diego native, received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Steven Eldred
Senior Program Manager
5060 Shoreham Pl # 350, San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 526-2600

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