LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City and community leaders announced Friday that they are seeking public input into a monthlong budgeting program to decide how to allocate $3 million, which will be spent in a trio of Los Angeles communities -- Boyle Heights, Mission Hills-Panorama City-North Hills and Southeast L.A.
"For too long, disadvantaged communities of color have had to fight for equitable allocation in city budget," Councilman Tim McOsker said in a statement. "No one knows better than those community members what services and programs will improve lives and neighborhoods, so it is imperative to have their input on where they want to see funds allocated."
A "Get Out the Vote" press conference was held Friday morning in Watts for LA Reforms for Equity and Public Acknowledgement of Institutional Racism, the city's first and California's largest participatory budgeting program, created by the city's Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. Hundreds of ideas were submitted by community members last fall, and now residents, students and workers over the age of 15 in those three communities will decide how $3 million of the city's budget will be spent there.
"Participatory budgeting gives real people real power over real money," said Capri Maddox, executive director of LA Civil Rights. "For the first time, historically marginalized people in Los Angeles are deciding how city dollars are spent, giving them the power to address longstanding issues in their communities."
According to the city, some of these proposals that can be funded range from rental assistance to environmental improvements for youths and seniors. Residents of the Boyle Heights, Mission Hills-Panorama City-North Hills and Southeast L.A. communities can vote for a proposal at bit.ly/40u68DV through April 30.
LA REPAIR will allocate approximately $8.5 million over nine REPAIR zones, which include formerly redlined neighborhoods and communities that the LA Civil Rights Department identified with high poverty, pollution, COVID-19 mortality rates and lack of home internet access in the city.
According to report from the LA Civil Rights Department, all nine REPAIR zones have a population with at least 87% people of color and represent more than half of all Angelenos living in poverty. Following the budgeting process in these three communities, or zones, the city will begin seeking public input from its next six zones, which include Arleta-Pacoima, Skid Row, South L.A., Westlake, West Adams-Leimert Park-Baldwin Village and Wilmington + Harbor Gateway.
The LA Civil Rights Department is also seeking members of the public from those communities to serve on their advisory committee, which communities members can apply for by going to bit.ly/3TYXMS1.