Los Angeles Auditor Analyzes City’s Federal Aid Spending

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
August 18, 2021 Updated: August 19, 2021

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin released a report on Aug. 12 examining how both the city and county are using the $1.28 billion in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds.

President Joe Biden passed the $1.9 trillion ARP on March 11; of those funds, $29.2 billion was given to the state of California, in addition to $1.9 billion given to Los Angeles County. As the second largest municipality in the U.S. after New York City, $1.28 billion was given to the city of Los Angeles.

According to Galperin, the city received $640 million in May—about half of the overall $1.28 billion— and will receive the rest of the funds in May 2022.

“When the pandemic hit, the city’s revenue projections suddenly changed, putting essential public services at risk,” Galperin said in a statement provided to the Epoch Times.

“The infusion of federal American Rescue Plan dollars allows Los Angeles and local governments across the nation to maintain these services and concentrate on a more equitable recovery. My new online resource gives Angelenos a transparent look at how L.A. will use the federal funds and helps ensure accountability as the money gets spent.”

Galperin released a Revenue Forecast Report earlier this year for the fiscal year beginning in July 2021. The report predicted a $550 million shortfall in revenue in the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ARP funds gave Los Angeles a boost, allowing it to maintain its services amid the revenue deficit.

“The city must be financially prudent with the dollars we receive,” Galperin said in a statement after the ARP passed. “My recommendation is to use the money first to address our budget shortfall this year and the challenges we will face over the next fiscal year. It should be our priority to ensure that neighborhood services families rely on don’t get cut or reduced, and to fully restore any that have suffered, especially in historically underserved communities.”

Galperin’s report estimated that 40 percent of the $640 million went toward city service maintenance, while the remainder was split among various other programs.

According to the data, about 22.7 percent, or $181 million, will go to programs that alleviate homelessness—of that amount, $136 million goes toward prevention, shelters, resources and cleanup, and $4 million goes to shelter programs for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Another 20 percent is for “justice and equitable neighborhood” investments such as alley and pedestrian safety improvements, and $2 million of those funds will also go to tree planting.

Galperin estimates that another $30 million, or 4.5 percent, will go to neighborhood service enhancements, and $40 million, and $40 million, or 6 percent, is allotted for COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

Last year, Galperin released the COVID-19 Spending Tracker to record how Los Angeles was spending federal pandemic response funds.

Much of the funds for the COVID-19 recovery programs, according to the spending tracker, go to matching funds for Project Homekey, a program to house and shelter people experiencing homelessness in hotels, motels, apartments, and other buildings, as well as an emergency rental assistance program and a small business emergency microloan program.

Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte