The Community Empowerment Center (CEC) is a collaboration between the USC College of Social Work and the Columbia Housing Authority and is located in Columbia, South Carolina. The goal of the Community Empowerment Center is to work together with community residents to make Gonzalez Gardens and the Lyon Street communities safer, healthier places in which to live, work, pray, and play. The CEC is based on the belief that community members are the people who know best what the community's challenges are. Likewise, it is based on a belief that community members have the best solutions to those challenges.
The CEC provides technical assistance to community members as they develop community-level interventions to improve the neighborhood. Whether it's a community art project, new lighting, a community garden, or neighborhood clean-ups, the CEC provides assistance to community teams as they design a program that addresses the concerns of the community.