May 6, 2021
Over the last 2 weeks, City Council’s Budget Committee has been reviewing the Mayor’s proposed budget. While we don’t serve on the committee, this document deeply affects all Angelenos -- and we’ve submitted a letter that outlines our priorities.
We are encouraged by this budget’s investment in addressing homelessness, as well as new programs providing alternatives to policing. But the urgency of this moment is too great, and the number of working + BIPOC Angelenos affected by COVID-19 too staggering, to not go further.
We are calling for our city to utilize new federal recovery funds to the greatest degree we responsibly can on behalf of Angelenos who are struggling now, and at risk of losing their homes in the near future.
Specifically, we are urging increased funding for programs to provide housing security, reimagine public safety, provide legal assistance to LA’s immigrant communities, and restore operations and maintenance positions in our city’s Recreation and Parks Department.
First, LA can’t address homelessness without a comprehensive housing stability program for all Angelenos. That means more rent relief, expanded ability for HCID to monitor, investigate, and enforce tenant protections, and a codified right to counsel for those facing eviction.
These investments require real resources, but they offer huge cost-saving opportunities for our city. It is far cheaper to keep tenants in their homes than trying to get them into housing once they are living on the street.
Second, if we are truly committed to reimagining public safety, we should question why the allocation for LAPD has increased compared to last year, while allocations for alternatives to policing remain incredibly small.
Many of the programs our city is piloting have already been proven to work in other places. We’re past the stage of small-scale experimentation. We must invest at a level that enables these programs to grow into robust, viable alternatives for the provision of public safety.
Third, LA must not shirk its commitment to protecting and supporting immigrant Angelenos. That means fully funding the Los Angeles Justice Fund, which provides vital legal support to keep our immigrant communities whole.
During the past 5 years, 71% of those detained at Adelanto ICE Detention Center have been forced to go to court alone. Justice Fund clients have deep ties to LA. Without adequate legal representation, families will be torn apart and untold harm will radiate through our city.
Fourth, the current budget proposal will prevent Recreation and Parks from refilling 140 vital operations and maintenance positions. Now is not the time to cut back on the resources that will enable us to preserve equitable access to outdoor space throughout our city.
See the original Twitter thread here.