Supervisor Holly Mitchell. (305219)
Supervisor Holly Mitchell. Credit: Supervisor Holly Mitchell's Office

Homelessness, housing, health, and mental health. Those are the top budget priorities of concerned community members who live and work in the 2nd District of Los Angeles County and those key community concerns are included in portions of Los Angeles County’s pending fiscal budget, which is expected to be about $36 billion dollars.

In a matter of months, Holly Mitchell has had to hit the ground running as the new representative of the district on the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors. She took over in the middle of the annual budget process.

Equity is at the forefront of everything that Mitchell’s office will undertake, according to the subject matter experts who help the supervisor represent portions of Los Angeles, Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, and Inglewood.

The May 27 virtual meeting was led by Kirk Shelton, who serves as the district’s Senior Budget Deputy Officer. Mitchell was not able to attend because of a scheduling conflict with a LA Metro board of directors meeting, which ran late.

“Justice is housing, justice is healthcare…” said John Matthews, Mitchell’s Senior Deputy of Justice.

Like her predecessor, Mark Ridley -Thomas, Mitchell is on the record with her unwavering belief that South Los Angeles / West Los Angeles can thrive. Mitchell has made it her mission for all decisions to consider racial equity.

Mitchell’s staff members have several budget priorities outside of the most visible issues like homelessness, housing, the COVID-19 pandemic, and mental health. Those priorities range from economic development via opportunities and advancement, to determining arts and culture priorities that will uplift the 2nd District.

Other key budget priorities are food insecurity and bridging the digital divide that was exposed in Black and Brown communities during the pandemic.

Environmental justice and sustainability are also important and will be addressed via expanding programs to install more electric vehicle charging stations in urban areas.

“For environmental justice, we need more green spaces and more sustainable packaging opportunities,” said Jacqueline Brown-Gaines during the Zoom meeting.

Health and mental health is a top priority across the county. As is homelessness, which staff members believe will take a holistic approach including dedicating more resources towards building more housing so people don’t fall into homelessness in the first place. Another key, affordable housing and financing for additional dwelling units on existing properties which can also help build wealth via real estate.

Military and veteran services and public transportation and infrastructure will also be addressed.

At the conclusion of the meeting, community members were asked to take a survey to determine their most important budget priority.

Homelessness and housing were ranked as the top priority. Health and mental health was second. Economic development was third.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the county’s budget in late June.