It’s wonderful what West Hollywood can afford to spend on social services programs for our seniors, our disabled, our people with HIV, our residents battling substance abuse -- and still be able to fill our potholes.
However, I have to wonder if there isn’t additional money somewhere in our budget that can go towards social services.
How we spend our money shows us what our priorities are, and social services should be a higher priority in West Hollywood.
The city's General Fund revenues have increased 43% over the past 10 years and the amount we spend on social services has also increased, but only by 36%. The 7% difference may not seem like a lot but to our social services contractors, who are non-profits fighting for every dollar, this 7% gap is huge. Those extra dollars that they would receive from a 7% increase would help offset the annual cost increases on food for meals, counseling sessions, etc.
I’ve discussed this with some members of the Human Services Commission and they too agree this is an important initiative since many West Hollywood residents participate in at least one of city's social services programs (for example, HIV testing).
Also, as we continue to build low income housing units, and as our residents continue to have birthdays (the median age of West Hollywood residents is 40), we can expect demand for social services to increase -- and so the City needs to be prepared.
Thank you for reading and if you’d like to discuss further with me, let’s schedule a coffee!