Supervisor Fletcher and Community Leaders Pursue Nearly $50 Million in Amendments to Create a More Equitable San Diego County
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Invest in San Diego County Families, and other leaders from communities across the County of San Diego are urging the Board of Supervisors to support a series of budget amendments to help with rental assistance, behavioral health services for homeless San Diegans and income replacement because of COVID-19, internet access to bridge the digital divide and a series of environmental justice improvements, including air quality monitors. The budget amendments being sought by Supervisor Fletcher total $49,270,000 are needed to address issues of equity that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many of these amendments will fulfill immediate service and programmatic needs to improve the health and wellbeing of people suffering in this moment, and lay the foundation for a more equitable future,” said Supervisor Fletcher “These actions will make a dent in the ongoing needs of our community, but there will still be more work to be done.”
During a press conference held at the County Administration Center this morning, several community leaders spoke out in support of the proposed budget amendments and called on the County to even more in the future.
“The $24 million proposed for Rental Assistance will help many families not have to worry as much to stay housed, and is a step in the right direction,” says Patricia Mendoza, an Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) member.
"For our county to be inclusive, we need to ensure equitable access to interpretation and translation services. When we do not prioritize high quality interpretation for multiple communities, we send a message of not belonging and not being a priority to the county. In a time of heightened challenges (including a global pandemic), equitable language access to information is critical,” said Marwa Abdalla, member of MAS PACE.
"We need bold leadership to address the systemic environmental challenges of our time: climate change, environmental justice, clean energy, and more. Supervisor Fletcher's proposed budget investments will help protect our communities and the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of the climate crisis, while advancing a zero carbon future of health and prosperity for all,” said Matthew Vasilakis, Co-Policy Director, Climate Action Campaign.
“The Board of Supervisors must center and address the needs of Black, Indigenous and people of color, who this county has historically marginalized. The proposals in Change Letters brought forth by Supervisors Fletcher and Cox, address some of the needs our coalition have been advocating for, long before COVID-19. Our Board of Supervisors must vote [today] to move our County toward a path of equity and justice, by supporting our community’s demands,” said Paola Martinez-Montes, Invest in San Diego Families, Campaign Manager.
The breakdown of the budget amendments proposed by Supervisor Fletcher, with the backing of Investment in San Diego Families and other are:
- Enterprise-wide translation of public facing county materials ($5 million)
- Internet access for low-income families for distance learning ($10 million)
- Income replacement stipend for essential workers ($2 million)
- Rental assistance ($24 million)
- Expand legal support for fair housing practices ($1 million)
- Mental health, substance misuse and care coordination services ($5.4 million)
- Pilot program to waive fees for residential wind projects, EV charging systems, energy storage and upgrade ($620,000)
- Air quality monitors, purifiers, and data analysis ($550,000)
- Weatherization program ($200,000)
- Green street master plan for public and private infrastructure ($500,000)
The community members in attendance included representatives from the Invest in San Diego Families (ISDF) coalition: Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties (ACLU), Business for Good (BFG), Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), Chicano Federation, Employee Rights Center (ERC), Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), San Diego Hunger Coalition, MAS-PACE, Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (MID-CITY CAN), Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Pillars of the Community, San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), Service International Union (SEIU) Local 221, San Diego LGBTQ Community Center, and Youth Will. Other groups that were present included: Climate Action Campaign and Black American Political Association of California