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The Los Angeles City Council approved a $13-billion budget for the next fiscal year on May 18 with a $1.3 billion investment to address the homelessness crisis, including $250 million for Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Safe program.
The approval came after months of review by the City Council’s Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee, and was praised by many council members as a win for the future of Los Angeles.
“This budget will make Los Angeles more livable for all. It will allow us to confront the emergency of homelessness with the urgency we need and make innovative investments in bold new methods to make our neighborhoods safer. We also take steps towards strengthening our city’s infrastructure, ensuring we continue to combat climate change in a significant way and improve city services to make a Los Angeles that is stronger, healthier, happier and safer,” Bass said in a statement. “This budget process has been a prime example of how working together, we can move L.A. forward.”
Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, a member of the Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee, said homelessness is among the biggest problems in the 5th District. She helped secure funding to combat homelessness as a major part of the budget, and said the gravity of the problem warrants it.
“I think this budget is a pretty good reflection of our city’s values and my values,” Yaroslavsky said. “The $1.3 billion for homelessness, to get people off the streets and also on homelessness prevention, I think is really important. It’s the most pressing issue we’re facing as a city and our budget needs to reflect that. I think it does reflect the seriousness with which we’re taking issue.”
In the 5th District, $1.5 million is earmarked for homeless housing in the budget. Yaroslavsky plans to use it to create interim housing, potentially through acquiring a new property.
“In Council District 5, we don’t have interim housing beds,” Yaroslavsky said. “My No. 1 priority is to get a site online as quickly as possible, and the best way to do that is by buying an existing building and making some changes inside and then using it as interim housing so that we can move people out of encampments and into housing quickly.”
Other programs in Yaroslavsky’s district that were funded in the budget include the Jewish Federation’s Security Initiative, which will receive $150,000. The federation works with temples and schools to help them improve security and reduce the risk of attacks. The councilwoman called for the funding after two Jewish men were shot while leaving temples in the Pico-Robertson District.
“The Jewish Federation does a really good job of working with Jewish institutions across the city to harden their infrastructure and protect those community centers against attacks,” Yaroslavsky said. “This funding will help make sure that they’re able to scale their trainings and will also help pay for the physical infrastructure that keeps these sites safe. We know that there’s been an increase in antisemitism and violent attacks, unfortunately.”
Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez, 13th District, also praised allocations in the new budget for the Hollywood area, including the Hollywood Recreation Center and Pool. Approximately $6 million was allocated to keep the pool open year-round and to modernize the gymnasium at the center, located at 1122 Cole Ave. The pool opens on June 5.
“This is something we identified early with Rec and Parks,” Soto Martinez said. “Part of the funding is going to be to have a year-round pool, and it will be the first year-round pool in the 13th District.”
The budget also earmarks $4 million for pedestrian upgrades to Hollywood Boulevard as a continuation of repair work that is ongoing in the Hollywood Entertainment District and on the Walk of Fame. The funds were provided by Metro to the city for street improvements such as crosswalks and infrastructure repairs.
The budget also earmarks $1 million to place public restrooms on the ground-floor of a city parking garage at 1627 N. Vine St., near Hollywood Boulevard.
“Working with the Hollywood Partnership, representing a lot of the business entities in the district, we got $1 million to build a bathroom facility right in the heart of Hollywood. It’s city-owned property. It will have about 40 restrooms. It’s going to have maintenance and staffing, and the ultimate goal is to have it open 24 hours a day. I think that will be the first public restroom in Hollywood, which is kind of shocking to hear, but I’m glad to be the one bringing it,” Soto-Martinez said.
The timelines for when the projects and programs will begin has not been announced. The budget allocations are for next fiscal year, which begins on July 1. Soto-Martinez added that he plans to continue to work with the Hollywood Partnership, which oversees the business improvement district, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, to make improvements. He said people will soon see a lot of progress.
“I’m very happy that we walked away with some pretty good things,” Soto-Martinez said. “People will be able to start seeing these improvements in action at the start of the next fiscal year after the beginning of July. The city moves slower than I would like, but once the budget is in there, then it’s going to be up to our directors to get those wheels moving. We hope to have some big improvements in the next fiscal year.”
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