Residents used to think their Milpas neighborhood was down and out. Now it's being recognized for turning things around.

Neighborhood USA chose Milpas as its Neighborhood of the Year 2014 in the social revitalization and neighborly category.

The community came in second last year.

Members of the Milpas Community Association said they have helped homeless people find housing and curbed crime and youth violence.

Alan Bleecker said they also launched a Taste of Milpas event that helped rebrand Milpas Street as Santa Barbara's "Eat Street."

Bleecker said the street, which runs from the beach to the Santa Barbara Bowl is culturally diverse and people from diverse political viewpoints work together to get things done.

To enter your town, go to