Los Angeles County’s $36.2 billion recommended budget, focused on expanding and sustaining extensive safety net services, was presented to the Board of Supervisors on April 20 by Chief Executive Officer Fesia Davenport.
The recommended budget is the first step in the county’s months-long budget cycle, which moves next to public hearings in May, followed by what are known as “final changes” budget deliberations in June. The process concludes with adoption of the supplemental budget in October.
The recommended budget presented to the board on April 20 is expected to evolve and include additional detail about programs and available funding in the months ahead. For example, the county anticipates receiving $1.9 billion in American Rescue Act funding, with the first installment expected to arrive in May. The Chief Executive Office is currently working with the Board of Supervisors on recommended allocations in health, economic recovery, equity investments, and sustainability and preparedness.
The recommended budget is intended to provide the board with a dynamic spending plan that funds key priorities and keeps service levels strong, while also ensuring the flexibility to respond to the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The spending blueprint is built on the leaner baseline and extensive cuts established in the 2020-21 budget cycle and does not propose any layoffs or furloughs.
“The pandemic has exposed and increased the gap between the haves and have-nots in Los Angeles County,” Davenport said. “This budget seeks to address that by expanding safety net services to the most vulnerable, while also supporting the county’s equity-focused programs and initiatives as we move toward recovery. Our goal is to make Los Angeles County a more just and equitable place for all our residents – by not just rebuilding, but actually becoming better than before.”
Key investments include combatting and preventing homelessness with an additional $16.6 million to fund Measure H strategies, for a total of $426.7 million. Proposed focus areas include increasing and sustaining the supply of interim housing beds and motel vouchers, streamlining the bed reservation system for interim housing and increased funding for permanent supportive housing services.
The budget also plans to address COVID-19’s parallel crisis in mental health by adding $9.8 million and 300 positions to the Promotores de Salud Mental Health Program – nearly quadrupling staffing for this vital community-based outreach and education program.
It also wants to add $29.9 million to expand mental health crisis and intervention services – corresponding to a sharp increase in need during the pandemic, including a 30% spike in calls to the Department of Mental Health Helpline.
For information, visit lacounty.gov/budget.
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