Mental health, homelessness make up big portions of proposed county budget 


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday advanced the county’s proposed $45.4 billion budget for 2024-25, which includes nearly $730 million to combat the growing homelessness crisis and adds more than 450 positions within the Department of Mental Health. 

The proposed budget does not include surplus funds from the current fiscal year budget, which could see it grow depending on the amount of money left over. 

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the county’s 5th District, including the Santa Clarita Valley, said in a statement released on Tuesday that she agrees with county Chief Executive Officer Fesia Davenport’s plan to have more money available to address both mental health and homelessness. 

“This budget proposal rightfully doubles down on heavily investing in homelessness and mental health solutions,” Barger said in the statement. “We’re on the right path, and I believe those investments will have ripple effects that keep our communities safer. 

“Dedicating more than $728 million to our fight against homelessness, paired with hiring more than 450 new workers for the Department of Mental Health — the largest staffing increase granted to any of the county’s 38 departments — will help our county provide boots-on-the-ground services for people experiencing homelessness on our streets,” Barger continued. “We will be ready to hire and deploy a new army of mental health clinicians, substance abuse counselors, outreach workers, and compassionate housing navigators equipped to help those experiencing homelessness to get housed and connected to supportive services that will keep them housed.” 

In a news release, Davenport said the proposed budget is balanced while also keeping uncertainties in mind. 

“This recommended budget represents a balanced plan for the county’s future in the face of multiple uncertainties,” Davenport said in the release. “It invests our limited discretionary resources in the board’s highest-priority programs, emphasizes services that our communities need, and embraces innovations like the Breathe guaranteed income program — all while maintaining the strength of the county’s social safety net.” 

Some of the highlights of budget, according to the release, include: 

  • $728.2 million to fund the county’s multi-layered approach to combating homelessness and facilitate the Homeless Emergency Declaration, including hiring more frontline staff such as outreach workers, housing navigators, mental health clinicians and substance use counselors. The Emergency Declaration has enabled the county to accelerate service delivery, cut red tape, and jumpstart changes in processes that are scaling and fast-tracking the work to prevent and end homelessness, the release said. 
  • 452 positions within the Department of Mental Health to support the state’s new CARE Court program; the Interim Housing Outreach Program providing services to help mentally ill homeless persons maintain housing stability; and staff an expansion of department-operated clinics and full-service partnership programs; as well as various Mental Health Services Act-funded programs. 
  • $300.6 million — equal to 10% of ongoing locally generated unrestricted revenues — to meet the board’s commitment to Care First, Jails Last (Measure J) and support direct community investments and alternatives to incarceration. In addition to this ongoing funding, an additional $223.4 million in one-time dollars from funding still available from previous budget cycles is available for Care First and Community Investment programs in the upcoming fiscal year — for a total of more than a half billion dollars. 
  • $95.6 million to assist foster families, prospective adoptive parents, and relatives who foster family members. 
  • $81.1 million to replace Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits for victims of card theft by skimmers and scammers acting statewide. 
  • $17.4 million in additional support for CalFresh food benefits. 
  • $13 million for jobs programs for youth and people with high barriers to employment. 
  • A wide range of investments in capital projects to improve our parks, expand water conservation efforts, and maintain our county infrastructure.
  • Support for forward-looking efforts to maintain cybersecurity in the face of growing threats and build out electric vehicle infrastructure. 

Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn released a statement on Tuesday joining Barger in applauding the county’s efforts to expand mental health and homelessness programs. 

“Four years ago, I made the decision to vote against a recommended budget because I did not think it met the moment,” Hahn said in the statement. “Today, I voted to advance a $45.4 billion budget that takes head-on the most serious crises we face: mental health and homelessness. 

“With 452 new positions in the Department of Mental Health, this budget includes the single biggest investment in our mental health care system since I joined the board eight years ago,” Hahn continued. “It means we will be able to speed up response times to mental health crises calls, send more mental health experts into the field to work directly with people struggling on our streets and bring them inside, and perhaps most importantly, it will allow us to create more permanent supportive housing so that we can get people the treatment and support they need to stay housed.” 

The proposed budget is currently $1.4 billion less than the final adopted budget for 2023-24. Any surpluses from the current budget are likely to be allocated in October. 

Public hearings are set to begin on May 15 for county residents to provide their input. 

For more information on the county’s proposed budget, visit

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