San Diego County supervisors are eyeing the possibility of a $2.76 billion budget plan that will be investing into health services.
Over the weekend, reports confirmed that County officials are considering this spending plan that aims at assisting homelessness, health and social services, and the development of affordable housing.
Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, says that this budget plan will address the issue of homelessness at an all time high.
“In this year’s budget, we are doing more to tackle homelessness than ever before, including $10 million to help our 18 incorporated cities open new shelters,” Fletcher said in a video. “In the next year, the county will open eight affordable housing developments, a record for any year in county history, which means more than 1,000 individuals will have access to an affordable home.”
Ebony Shelton, Chief Financial Officer, said that despite the decrease in health services, such as COVID-related spending, there will be an increase in behavioral health services.
“Even though there’s a budget decrease in the Health and Human Services Agency to reduce one-time pandemic costs, the county is still making long-term investments in mental health, substance use support, essential food and health services and efforts to reduce homelessness and increase affordable housing,” Shelton said.
Some of the biggest budget increases will proceed as followed:
- Department of Public Health Services budget would be cut by over 40 percent, from $378 million to $216 million
- Child Welfare Services would increase from $416 million to $431 million, with up to 99 new staff hires
- Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities to expand from $48 million to $52.8 million.
- Mental health services would increase about $495 million to nearly $554 million.
- Behavioral Health Services would boost from $818 million to $889 million, with 94 new staff members on board.
Nick Macchione, Director of Health and Human Services, reiterated that Officer Shelton's statement, saying going forward a number of elements tied to COVID-19 health care will still be picked up for the long run, such as "promotoras".
“Building off best practices from COVID-19 response with our community engagement using promotoras, we’re adding 12 newly created community health worker positions to provide support for a variety of neighborhood-based health education and health promotion services.” he said.